The main purpose of the Business Group is to listen to, support, represent, work with and inform commercial, light industrial, service and retail businesses as well as self employed people working from home in and around Crowborough. It is an integral part of The Crowborough Partnership.
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Its initial objectives were outlined in the original Revitalisation Strategy published in 1997/8 and the group's mandate was to:
- Provide a sustainable economic climate for existing and future companies
- Establish a business network
- Retain existing employers
- Encourage growth of micro businesses
- Develop a training/business start up programme for young people
Since the Summer of 2002, a number of planned initiatives have been undertaken including a comprehensive Business Opinion Survey issued to over 400 business in the town and the results from over 90 returns analysed, meetings with business support agencies and local authorities, 5 Business Newsletters being issued, funding obtained and all this culminated in a 'kickstart the local economy meeting' in September 2003.
Since then a strong and vibrant network of about 15 local business people have met regularly as well as holding meetings with Wealden District Council and the Executive Manager of East Sussex Economic Partnership. As expected, these business people are not at all interested in meetings unless something productive comes from them - they want to see action and results.
The 3 key priorities selected by the newly formed group are:
- Development and promotion of a database of local suppliers
- Initiatives and incentives to encourage and support 'start ups' and existing 'homebased' businesses wanting premises
- Retention of existing businesses in Crowborough
There are a further 8 or 9 identified needs, some of which could benefit from progress with the 3 main priorities
Details of these meetings are posted on the Business Section of the web site along with copies of all the Business Newsletters that show much more detail as to how this major initiative of enhancing the local economy has progressed and the direction being taken.
In addition, breakfast meetings are held at Sherlock's Coffee Shop at 7.30 to 8.30am on the first Wednesday of each month, a programme of quarterly lunches are being organised, a market sector meeting is scheduled for the 26th February and other events are being considered to provide networking and business support.
The Business Section of the web site is seen as being a vital two way communication link as well as the vehicle for local purchasing for businesses and local residents.