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What is The West of England Initiative?

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The West of England Initiative is a business leadership team which enables the business community to positively influence the way our area is shaped, managed and developed.

We work with Local and National Government, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the third sector. Our area of engagement covers the authorities of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset, and North Somerset.

The West of England Initiative and its partners are people with commitment and determination, motivated by the desire to create an economically and culturally prosperous region, devoid of inequality and poverty.

We sit at the centre of Business West, the largest independent business organisation in the UK, representing and working with 22,000 businesses over the South West

The Genesis of The Initiative

During the early 1980s, towns and cities throughout the UK were in crisis; recession had damaged the UK economy and cities were the first to feel its effects. Economic decline caused unemployment levels to rise resulting in the eruption of riots throughout UK cities. Realising the need to find a solution, the CBI in 1988 published a significant report on business and urban regeneration.

The report detailed that urban decay was a problem whose solution lay beyond charity, but more importantly, it highlighted that business must provide leadership and vision to reverse the cycle of economic and social decline. The CBI report sparked a nationwide effort from the business community to unite and work alongside local governance in order to address the problems that plagued their cities.

It was in 1989 that a group of 12 influential and visionary Bristol business leaders responded to this unrest, forming The Initiative, and set straight to work on addressing the social and economic issues of their city. Initiatives have since been formed in Bath and, more recently, within the wider remit of Business West in Swindon. Today, over 270 business leaders are engaged with developing a shared vision. A vision to create a successful place for people to live, work and invest in for all its communities.

What we do Today

The West of England Initiative is a business leadership team. Annual contributions made by members fund a small team to act as an enabler for the business community, allowing it to positively engage with key issues in the region and play a part in influencing the way our area is shaped, managed and developed.

Working alongside local councils, local enterprise partnership and key stakeholders, The Initiative provides an effective link between the private, public and third sectors; ensuring that business can channel its voice and at times its resource and help shape and influence policies and instigate change across:

Economy and Business Growth
Planning and Development
Employment, Skills and Education
Transport and Connectivity
Energy and Low Carbon Economy
Local and National Government