16 August 2017

Business Leaders to Take Action

Businesses across the South are becoming involved with action groups to realise the potential for growth in niche sectors

In the 10th year of the Business South Champions Programme, many of the organisation’s business members are joining together to take action over key priorities for the region’s economy.

The Business South Champions network represents businesses in Hampshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Surrey and Sussex. Members include IBM UK, Carnival UK, Gatwick Airport, Southampton International Airport and Import Services.

“Business South has always had strength in bringing together businesses, giving them collective voice and taking action on business priorities for their sectors.” Explains Hazel Warwick, Chairman of Business South.

“With 200 business members including representation from the South’s major companies, the Business South Champions are an unparalleled network of knowledge and thought leadership. We are in a unique position to co-ordinate partnership working.”

“By bringing together a small group of businesses with niche expertise we have found that action groups can make a big difference by focusing on a small number of key issues of shared interest. The Business South HR Forum and Regenerate South are working examples of this.”

“In response to requests from our members in the business community, we are investigating ways that Business South can co-ordinate more of this positive collaboration & we are looking to revitalise the Action Groups to take matters forward.”

“Following a Westminster delegation briefing that took place earlier this year, we are also consulting with our members to identify collective businesses issues and proposed solutions that can be raised with local MPs.”

Contributing £32.2 billion to the UK economy, and employing 113,000 people across the UK, one of the areas that has been identified as having potential for growth in the South is the luxury sector.

Following an initial meeting on board Queen Mary 2, Business South Champions in the luxury sector such as Cunard, Lime Wood Group and Royal Southampton Yacht Club, are coming together to establish an action group to support development in their sector, which is forecast to reach over £50 billion in 2019 in the UK and employment set to increase to 158,000 people by 2019.

“Consumers are now looking for something unique and are willing to pay more for quality and aspirations.” Explains Professor Joanne Roberts from the Winchester Luxury Research Group (WLRG) at the University of Southampton’s Winchester School of Art.

“There is a shift from conspicuous consumption to more meaningful and authentic luxury experiences. Conscious consumers are also looking for sustainable luxury goods and services and the digital economy is having an impact on how luxury is sold. The sector has great potential and there is a cluster of luxury brands in the South, if they work together it can only mean good things for the sector and for the region.”

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