Charter leaves no stone unturned for Hampshire businesses

A private sector grouping is to deliver business support services in Hampshire following the signing of a charter agreement with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Business Alliance (HIBA) will work to raise awareness of local and national support services for business and ensure there is ready access to them.

It will also act as a bridge between the LEP and the business community, so giving local businesses a better chance to influence the area’s economic strategy.

The agreement was signed at a LEP conference that featured a keynote address by Lord Heseltine, whose recent ‘No Stone Unturned’ report emphasised the role of the private sector in providing co-ordinated support for businesses to help grow the economy.

HIBA is a partnership between Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight offices of the British Marine Federation, the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors, the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Enterprise Alliance.

Jimmy Chestnutt, Hampshire Chamber Chief Executive, who signed the agreement on behalf of HIBA, said: “This is an exciting initiative. We hope that we will as a group demonstrate that the business support community can work together to mutual advantage and for the absolute benefit of the whole business community. We see today as the first step towards creating a national network of similar county based alliances, and believe that by so doing we will help achieve our national objective of increasing the UK’s share of the all-important emerging export markets.”

In his conference speech, Lord Heseltine said: “There is a clear need for a much more powerful and integrated private sector voice. The deal being done today shows there is progress being made in that direction. It’s the kind of stepping stone that will put us into a much better position.”