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A message from the Chair of Somerset 3D - Cllr. Anne Fraser

Posted: 25/4/12

Since its inception in 2008 Somerset 3D has made a positive impact on the inward investment into the County.   Over 700 jobs have been created across all sectors which has increased  employment and helped our local economy;  the profile of the County has been enhanced by the many articles that have appeared throughout the national and regional media and the attendance at diverse business gatherings;   the use of network platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In make Somerset 3D readily accessible and relevant to modern business thinking and our promotional videos supported by Ambassadors such as Deborah Meaden, is a great way of getting our message across whilst also showing some of the unique features of the County.

But we must never rest on our laurels!    We are all aware of the opportunities – and in some areas, challenges – that will come with the confirmation of the building of new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point.  However, Somerset is far from being  a ‘one-horse’ town and we need to continue to attract new, vibrant companies to complement and support the strong sectors such as aerospace and advanced engineering, food and drink, creative industries and business services, that are already successfully  operating within our boundaries.   We need to see that our young people are obtaining the education available to them through our high achieving schools, including top-ranking independent schools and Further Education Colleges that will enable them to take up the enhanced posts which come with the advancement of modern technology.  We also need to ensure that our businesses engage with those young people at an early stage in their education to raise their aspirations and make them aware of the opportunities which are available to them.

The dedicated team at Somerset 3D, strongly supported by its Board members, are ready and willing to move forward and continue the work that Somerset 3D was originally requested to undertake – promote inward investment into the County and help those within the region to expand and re-locate.   By moving into the County incomers will enjoy a quality life-style yet retain the connectivity with the rest of the UK through its excellent road, rail and air links.

Marketing is obviously critical to the success of our core business and there are some new and innovative ways of marketing being currently explored. Key to much of the work that we undertake is finance and, regrettably, our Local Authorities (who were the original partners in Somerset 3D) are having to operate on reduced budgets which reflects in what they are able to contribute to Somerset 3D.   We must, therefore, turn more and more to support from other areas and businesses within the County and this can be done not only by financial contributions but also in so many other ways. 

 Our “So Well Connected” campaign is an example of creative thinking – having a QR code on a building, vehicle, advertisement or notepaper which directs people to the Somerset 3D web-site, placing our Somerset 3D logo on products, papers, etc., creating a suitably designed wrapper for use on newspapers and magazines are a few examples.   Equally by becoming an Somerset 3D Ambassador and taking the opportunity of verbally ‘spreading the word’ both at home and overseas are ways in which individuals can become involved and promote the County as a place to do business.

Broadband speeds in urban areas are getting faster as BT’s investment in superfast broadband rolls out across the county. Furthermore we will shortly be improving broadband connectivity in the wider rural areas as a result of a £30m investment by Government that will guarantee 20mbs to 85% of all premises with the remaining 15% being guaranteed 2mps – when at present they have virtually nothing.  

We have visible evidence of some significant investment across the County and interest continues to be strong.   Somerset is the “happening” place!   The County that is open for business and wants to share its unique location and lifestyle with others.   Somerset 3D will be working to facilitate those opportunities.