In February 2014, Content Guru deployed its storm ASK mass surveying platform in conjunction with Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), providing a time-limited period for 1,000 business representatives to comment on the LEP’s draft Strategic Economic Plan (SEP). The Plan will set out the strategic priorities for economic growth in Thames Valley Berkshire and address the changing realities of ‘doing world class business’. Responses were broadly in total or partial agreement with the SEP’s recommendations, with education and business singled out as the most important areas for investment in the future of the sub region.
Local Enterprise Partnerships were founded in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses, to help drive private sector growth by determining economic and job creation strategies throughout the regions they represent. By combining the concerns of local governments and the public sector with the UK’s primary financial powerhouses of private sector businesses, LEPs are in the unique position to create business opportunities that are evenly distributed across the country and hence stimulate present and future economic development.
Thames Valley Berkshire LEP is one of 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships and has a remit across the local authority areas of Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor & Maidenhead and Wokingham. It has drafted a SEP which has been developed by a truly multi-sector partnership and thus represents a broad view of the sub regional economy, its potential and the associated risks the economy faces, including global competition.
The storm ASK survey was carried out through a simple web-based interface, and enabled business representatives from a wide range of sectors, from education through healthcare to construction and ICT, to give their thoughts on the SEP’s priorities, and Thames Valley Berkshire’s immediate economic needs.
Margot Tomkinson-Smith, Communications Manager for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP commented:
“Our priority is to establish an effective framework for the economic growth of the sub region. SEPs are multi-year plans through which we will compete with other LEPs, whilst combining to drive economic growth nationally. In this regard Thames Valley Berkshire is uniquely placed to send a compelling message to central government about the return that the sub regional economy makes to the Exchequer year on year.
“What’s inspiring from the survey results is the positive outlook we’ve seen from Berkshire businesses. Over three-quarters expect to grow, with nearly a third anticipating rapid expansion. On top of that 95% of organisations feel that they’re part of a ‘business community’ within our sub region, suggesting a widespread extension of the collaboration between public and private sector that the LEP was established to foster.
“Content Guru’s storm platform was instrumental in helping us conduct this survey. storm ASK was rapidly deployed and through the reporting portal we were able to see results coming in within moments of being submitted. When we began to see the flow of responses dry up, storm provided real-time agility with mass automated email reminders to those who hadn’t already responded.”
Sean Taylor, Managing Director at Content Guru, added:
“We’re delighted to have been able to help the LEP in its consultation process, and it’s great to see that so many of the participants agree with the Strategic Economic Plan’s direction. Although Content Guru does business internationally, we value the importance of our region as the Silicon Valley of Europe and are pleased to see the steps the LEP are taking to keep the area at the forefront of places to work and live.”
To read the report in full, please visit www.contentguru.com/downloads/lep-report-2014.pdf.