Vibrant Economy Blog

Towards a vibrant economy: the role of business

We know from 18 months of consultation, speaking with more than 1500 people, 800 companies and 324 local authorities, that no one group can do it alone. Organisations across the public, private and not-for profit sectors must rally now to help build a strong and prosperous UK economy.  From our discussions around the country, we see three areas where business can act now to make contribution to our future. 

What businesses can do now to help build a vibrant economy for the UK

Sacha Romanovitch explains what businesses can do now to help build a vibrant economy for the UK

The idea: bringing different sectors and people together stimulates innovation, creates social and economic value and helps identify new ways to use existing or disused assets. In our inquiries people expressed a strong desire to pool resources and find local solutions to national challenges. 

What this means for business: you and your business can share resources, knowledge and expertise to help solve local and national challenges. There are opportunities everywhere for business to develop and support creative local solutions. Because we are stronger when we work together. 

Three ways to get involved today:

  • creating an OpenIDEO chapter in your city. OpenIDEO connects creatives, entrepreneurs, educators and leaders in cities. It enables people to design and work on projects that address issues in their local community and access resources to expand their impact
  • finding a Transition group in your town or setting one up. The Transition movement helps communities tackle big challenges by starting at a local level. It encourages people and groups to come together and crowd-source solutions. The idea is to create sustainable local economies, spark entrepreneurship, re-imagine work, re-skill people and weave webs of connection and support
  • investigating setting up an Impact Hub. They are a global network of hubs fostering entrepreneurship, idea incubation, business development and co-working spaces.

> Download Towards a vibrant economy: the role of business to find out more [ 3466 kb ]

2 Embracing new skills and new ways of working

The idea: the future world of work touches on issues such as the pace of technology development, current and future business priorities and skills requirements. As the country prepares to leave the EU, the question of how the UK sources the skills it needs to grow is becoming more pressing.

What this means for business: business must prepare now, for the world of work tomorrow. It is time for business to help shape the talent and foster the skills the UK needs to prosper. 

Three ways business can do this: 

  • making mentoring a priority - An easy yet effective way to upskill people. Reverse mentoring gives those who are senior in age or who are experienced, the chance to gain new capabilities; and younger or less skilled employees the opportunity to develop confidence and communications skills 
  • connecting employers and schools - Employers tell us it’s greater employer engagement with education and training that we need to address skills shortages. Young adults who’ve had four or more interactions with employers at school are 86% less likely to be NEET (not in employment, education or training). And helping teachers contextualise and bring to life academic subjects in the classroom by relating them to practical applications in the working world
  • upskilling the next generation - through programmes that provide the young with access to business people and foster links to local schools in the community. For example our own School Enterprise Programme or our work as part of the national initiative; the Access Accountancy programme. 

> Read more about our inquiry into the Future of work

The idea: For economies to thrive, they require local environments that support growth. Successful businesses and organisations have to engage with the local economy and create stronger communities.

What this means for business: It goes beyond ‘corporate social responsibility’ and involves taking ownership of issues such as health, education and social inclusion. When businesses do this, the beneficial outcomes include resilient supply chains, access to more and better skills as well as new products and services that meet social needs and create the wider environment for business success.

Businesses can help build places where we thrive these four ways:

  • fostering local pride - business must harness people's desires to take ownership and responsibility for local outcomes. It is clear that on a range of issues, people felt they were best able to find the right solutions for their city
  • championing joined-up thinking - the broader point from all of the discussions on healthcare was the need for a more holistic, integrated approach: between business, charities and healthcare. This would encourage people to live more healthily, to manage their own health and to seek treatment from agencies within the community rather than centralised healthcare
  • greening our cities - getting and keeping people moving was a frequent topic of discussion. Measures designed to promote physical activity often had the added benefit of improving the environment
  • financing our ambitions - vibrant economies depend upon the right infrastructure to support sustainable growth. During our conversations we found people wanted to find ways of raising local finance for projects. In this way, they could invest in their community, in the infrastructure needed for local businesses and people to thrive and get a financial return from doing so.

> For organisations that can help achieve these outcomes, download Towards a vibrant economy: the role of business  [ 3466 kb ]

How are you helping to build a strong economy for the UK?

Our research has taught us that collaboration is not only possible, it is essential. No one individual or organisation can address the challenges the UK faces alone. If we share ideas and resources we can start to solve some of the big problems we face. When this happens, we’ll build markets people trust and embrace innovation. We’ll have environments that enable business and people to flourish. We’ll have dynamic organisations, growing sustainably. We’ll have a vibrant economy.

Our journey has just begun. We have shown you the outputs of our consultation so far, there's a huge amount that business can contribute now. So what are you going to do? 


Send us an email to find out how you, and your business can get involved.

Find out more about how we are shaping a vibrant economy