The Business Group’s remit is to discuss and where possible assist in those areas which constrain the development of business and the economy in Gloucestershire, and to support those groups seeking to deliver change. The Honourable Company (HCG) also looks to the Group to provide input on matters of education, as the availability of appropriately skilled workforce is recognised as one of the key factors, and currently constraints, on growth within the County. The Business Group led the Company’s contribution to the consultation around Gloucestershire 2050 which seeks to develop a strategy for success in the County over the next 30 years. The HCG’s contribution (which can be found here) was informed in part by a debate on anchor institutions (Gloucestershire in 2050: the role of present and future anchor institutions) that the Company organised in June 2018. The Group particularly recognises the role of business in the rural economy and communities in Gloucestershire and has established a rural sub-group to develop its contribution in this area.
The Group recognises that it does not have the resources to make a major impact on its own, but seeks to work in partnership with others and catalyse activity through its help wherever possible. It seeks to use to the full the networking opportunities of the Company membership to work effectively with like-minded external organisations and individuals. The Honourable Company’s Annual Gloucestershire Schools’ Christmas Lectures programme, aimed at exciting the interest of secondary school pupils in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) is a successful example, marking ten years of lectures in 2019. There's more on the Schools' Lecture programme here.
The Group shares with the Community Interest Group responsibility for management of the Anne Cadbury Awards, established through a generous bequest to support the development of young people in the County. The first award has been made to a young person at the Gloucestershire Bike Project, which offers facilities for young adults to receive training, to attend an Outward Bound Course. A past Group member has been closely involved with the Gloucestershire Engineering Training (GET) centre, set up by County employers to encourage and assist young people going into electrical and mechanical engineering. The Group will continue to encourage and support organisations to apply for funds from the HCG’s Charitable Fund.
The Group also organises visits and meetings both for its own members and for the wider Company membership to better inform and explore where it can be of assistance. One such meeting, on the work of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum (SOGM) and their work in stimulating schools’ exchanges between Gloucestershire and South Korea based on the historical contribution of The Glosters to the Korean War, has led to a joint Friendship visit involving the HCG and SOGM to Paju in South Korea in April 2020.
The Group wishes to continue to build its work with business organisations, educational establishments and individuals, using the expertise and knowledge of its members to influence growth and wellbeing in the county’s economy. The Chair, Chris Gaskell, would welcome interest from any member of the Company, and any enquiry from the membership where the Business Group’s expertise might be able to assist in any way.
Within the objectives of the Honourable Company – to promote Gloucestershire values and the interests of the county's communities and businesses – the Business Group's Terms of Reference are:
• Identify issues, which are impeding the growth and health of the economy of the county. This includes education and training as it relates to employment and the economy.
• The Business Group cannot by itself deliver projects and schemes, so it must engage and work with those interested organisations and individuals.
• Act as an independent group to encourage and support those individuals or organisations that are delivering meaningful change in the county.
• Identify members whose experience, knowledge and expertise may be able to contribute to solving identified problems or issues.
• When appropriate, to utilise the membership to give support to individual businesses or organisations.
• The remit is so wide that it is important to focus, at any one time, on a limited number of objectives.