Initiative to help businesses buy local
By Cat Hage | 10th October 2023
A new county-wide initiative to try and help Gloucestershire's small businesses win more contracts to supply goods and services to the public and private sectors is gathering momentum.
The 'Together Gloucestershire' campaign brings together local business groups, small and large county businesses and some of the area's major public sector organisations with a unified aim to keep more business within the local economy.
The partnership is thought to be one of the first of its kind in the country. It aims to create an online platform to make it easier for local businesses, councils and other public sector bodies to connect with and work together to help support local companies and ensure as much procurement as possible stays within county borders.
The Chambers of Commerce for both Cheltenham and Cirencester along with Gloucestershire's FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) are the driving forces on behalf of the SME community.
The group also includes major companies in the county such as Renishaw, Spirax Sarco, St. James's Place and Hazlewoods along with councils including Cotswold District Council and Cheltenham Borough Council. 'Together Gloucestershire' also has the full support of public sector bodies including Gloucestershire Police and GFirst LEP with MPs Alex Chalk (Cheltenham) and Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown (Cotswolds) also involved in early discussions.
The objective is to create a local pledge from all parties to improve the amount of procurement that goes to SMEs within the county and for SMEs themselves to adopt an ethical and environmentally friendly approach to ensure those in the private/public sector are confident in the values of those in their supply chains.
At the September meeting, held at Spirax Sarco, Sam Holliday, FSB Gloucestershire Development Manager, outlined his organisation's frustrations at the Government missing its own targets for giving contracts to SMEs.
Adam Vines of the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce said how pleased he was that the 'Together Gloucestershire' campaign was now making real progress to take county procurement forward.
"Through this project, we aspire to help hundreds of millions of pounds of business be spent with our region's exceptional small businesses. The unwavering support and active involvement of our region's leading employers, local authorities, and the public sector have propelled this initiative, highlighting the undeniable necessity for this solution."
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