Breakfast debate about business in Somerset proves popular

Almost 100 business people from across the South West attended the South West Business Insider breakfast event on Friday 3rd October at Yeovil Town FC Conference Centre. Sponsored by Somerset 3D, the event provided an opportunity to debate the investment case for Somerset and discuss what it’s really like to do business in the county.

The panel comprised Mark Taylor, managing director of Filbert’s Fine Foods and an inward investor himself; Mark Porter, managing director of Jones Building Group; and Jonathan Langdon, founder of Milsted Langdon and board member of Somerset 3D. Other speakers at the event included Justin Hopkins, partner at Mogers Drewett; Rob Hall, senior manager for Somerset at Lloyds Banking Group; and Rupert Cox, CEO of Somerset 3D.

A wide range of topics were covered by the speakers including Somerset’s excellent transport links, low unemployment rates, good educational facilities and strong business growth opportunities such as Hinkley Point C. Key industries such as manufacturing, advanced engineering, food & drink and high end fashion were used to highlight the high level of skills found within the county.

While it was acknowledged that the pace of the superfast broadband roll-out was an issue in some areas, it was also noted that this is an issue faced by many regions and is not unique to Somerset. In addition, it was recognised that the situation is being addressed through Connecting Devon & Somerset as well as investment from the local authority, which have the joint goal of reaching 95% of premises by the end of 2017.

The fact that Somerset is a beautiful place to live and a lovely place to bring up a family was remarked upon by several of the speakers. This exceptional quality of life combined with a huge amount of talent, both in terms of businesses and skills, makes Somerset a great place to do business. 

Rupert Cox summed up Somerset’s location, opportunities and entrepreneurial spirit superbly with the observation, “We’re not in the middle of nowhere, we’re halfway to everywhere!”

A full write-up from the event will be found in the next issue of South West Business Insider.



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