Eden District Council and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce set out to understand local firms’ biggest challenges and opportunities at their inaugural Inspiring Eden Business Breakfast, which took place recently at the North Lakes Hotel in Penrith.
The roundtable event provided an opportunity for the Council and the Chamber to introduce the Inspiring Eden initiative and associated business support programmes, whilst also hearing the views of local businesses on the key challenges and opportunities facing the local economy.
Key themes served up by participants included difficulties with recruitment; the challenges of increased energy costs; the rising expectations of visitors; opportunities for new business networks to support local businesses; and the changing face of town centres and shopfront usage now and into the future.
A range of farming specific areas were also discussed such as how best to balance conservation and farming; the impact of changing land values on succession planning for farmers; and the need for focussed support for farmers.
The opportunities on offer through local government reorganisation in Cumbria were also explored.
Cllr Mary Robinson, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Enterprise at Eden District Council, said:
“This was an excellent event and it is important that we at the Council and Chamber of Commerce have the opportunity to hear what businesses have to say about the current economic climate: in particular, the specific hopes and fears currently being faced on a day to day basis.
“I am very keen we build on this event over the coming months. We want to make sure we keep our fingers on the pulse of the ever changing economic conditions and the associated impacts on our local businesses.”
Suzanne Caldwell, Managing Director of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, added:
“It’s important that we continue to work with our local partners, such as Eden District Council, to make sure the voices of businesses are able to shape the development of local projects and services. Through local economic development initiatives such as Inspiring Eden and those provided by the Chamber, we are focussed on providing services that support the current and emerging needs, demands and aspirations of local businesses.”