Stand Out Studio were booked to provide photographic coverage at the Gloucestershire Industrial Strategy Round Table.

Business West in Gloucestershire held the event at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester for business leaders in the county to discuss the changes they feel are needed to boost the area’s economy, productivity and other key issues, in light of the production of GFirstLEP’s new Industrial Strategy, which is to be published next March.

Stand Out Studio were shooting the event for Business West's marketing team and for publication in Business & Innovation Magazine.

The discussion was chaired by Ian Mean, director of Business West in Gloucestershire. Introductions were made by Professor Joanna Price, vice-chancellor of the Royal Agricultural University and Phil Smith, managing director of Business West, before David Owen, CEO of GFirst LEP gave a presentation on the Local Industrial Strategy.

The range and depth of experience present was striking, with contributions from food and drink, professional services, tech, cyber, logistics, building, waste management, environmental, energy and aerospace companies.

Business is often seen as only representing its narrow interests, but the experience of this roundtable was that business leaders care passionately about the place, and are champions and guardians of its long term interests, against short termism, complacency and inertia.

Gloucestershire is shortly to publish its industrial Strategy – led by the GFirst LEP. The current outline of the strategy is highly encouraging: with focus on several cutting edge sectors: notably cyber, based around the growing hub and world class expertise in Cheltenham, and agri tech, overseen by the able leadership of Jo Price at the Royal Agricultural University, and building on the major food and drink expertise of the county.

But it also acknowledges the steep challenges: of an ageing population struggling to retain and attract its young people, of skills gaps, transport obstacles and high housing costs. Many businesses also voiced concern at the lack of strategic vision or urgency, with one county and six district councils with a tendency to pull in different directions and with dispersed responsibilities for skills, housing, economic policy and transport infrastructure.