A plan to increase jobs and raise household incomes in Denbighshire is working, business leaders have said.
More people are in work and household incomes and business turnover have increased since the launch of Denbighshire County Council’s Economic and Community Ambition Strategy in 2013.
The Council has increased the amount of business grants it provides, is offering more free advice and workshop sessions, including through its March for Business month, and is working closely with business leaders and groups to support traders.
Rebecca Maxwell, Denbighshire’s corporate director for the economy said the Council has been working hard to improve its understanding of the pressures facing businesses.
She said: “We are building a Denbighshire that is genuinely open for business and has a strong economy that is a benefit to our residents.
“We know we don’t do that on our own. Businesses themselves do the hard work of growing the economy. What we can do is work to create the right environment and do what we can to create the conditions in which businesses and the economy can flourish.”
Since the ten-year plan was launched in 2013, there are 1,700 more people in work in Denbighshire, average household incomes are closing the gap on the rest of Wales (£24,574 in Denbighshire; £24,944, Wales) and 70 more businesses are starting up every year.
Now 19 out of 20 new businesses are surviving for a year with almost two thirds still trading three years later.
The financial turnover of businesses has increased by £410.9m to £2506.7m, a percentage increase higher than any Welsh local authority and higher than the average UK rate of increase.
Ms Maxwell said: “We are delighted to have more businesses remaining successful with both survival rates and turnover up.
“We have made the economy a priority right across the Council, from our economic and business development team to the planning and public protection department which is working hard to improve how regulation is delivered to save businesses time and money.”
Increasing opportunities for local businesses to secure contracts with Denbighshire has also been a priority and the Council has revamped the procurement section of its website so firms can register to be made aware when a contract is up for renewal.
In 2016/2017 of £113 million spent by the Council, more than £30 million was spent with 938 different Denbighshire businesses, and that doesn’t include work carried out by Denbighshire based sub-contractors working for firms not located in the county.
For example, of the £4.8m Nova redevelopment in Prestatyn, 57 per cent of the spend was with local contractors and more than 23 per cent was spent on the purchase of materials from local suppliers.
Other measures to help businesses include the #LoveLiveLocal shop local campaign and providing funds and expertise to make key strategic employment sites in the county such as Station Yard in Denbigh and Rhuddlan Triangle more attractive for developers.
A range of videos offering advice and information to businesses on a range of subjects have been produced following this year’s March for Business event.
Denbighshire is also working to exploit the potential offered by St Asaph Business Park, developing proposals for a technology hub to provide move on accommodation for expanding businesses.
Ms Maxwell said: “While we’re interested in attracting new businesses from elsewhere and want to support our larger employers, our micro, small and medium businesses are also important and a real focus for us. The emphasis has been how we can help make them successful.
“If they all create one job, that is a huge amount for our residents.”
Mike Learmond, the FSB’s development manager for North Wales, said: “Denbighshire County Council has an impressive level of engagement with local businesses. The March for Business programme of events was a great success and we look forward to working with the local authority in the future to ensure that engagement with local business continues to improve.”
Rich Brady, from Recruit Packs Denbigh, and vice chair of Denbigh Business Group, said: “In the last couple of years I have seen a real push from Denbighshire to improve relationships with businesses.
“I’ve seen this as a business owner and through my work with Denbigh Business Group.
“Campaigns like March for Business make it much easier to access DCC staff.”
Posted on Wednesday 24th May 2017