Cheltenham – The Future of Our Local Economy And Support For Business

A New Economic Strategy Board

A lot has changed recently in terms of planning the town’s economic future and the support available for local businesses.

As you may know, the role of GFirst LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) has now been absorbed into Gloucestershire County Council with the majority of employees moving across. The newly formed Gloucestershire City Region Board (GCRB), drawn from all six district councils and the county council, will now be responsible for the new 10-year Economic Strategy, Driven by innovation, built on heritage. You can read more about it here

GCRB will be supported by senior officers and advised by a new independent Economic Growth Board. The strategy acknowledges the vital role of Chambers of Commerce providing support for businesses alongside the Growth Hubs, which will continue to operate across the county.

Cheltenham Growth Hub

Your Chamber has a close relationship here. This Hub has expanded its activities considerably and you can find out more about these here. Two Chamber Board Members also take an active role supporting local businesses through their Mentoring Programme. 

The Golden Valley Development

A significant part of the town’s future prosperity lies with the Golden Valley Development. Some of the key players gave an update at a recent Insider Media breakfast at the Queen’s Hotel. Gareth Edmundson, CEO of Cheltenham Borough Council described it as the region’s biggest opportunity in 300 years. With GCHQ as a key magnet, the aim is to become a globally recognised hub for cyber security and the technology that secures the country’s infrastructure, supply chains and critical systems. Collaborating with education and the public sector it will deliver new jobs, training and development opportunities for a wide range of individuals and be a critical hub for research and innovation in key technologies.

Other speakers included Matt Bellshaw, development director for HBD who will oversee the main construction, Julie Tegg, director of employee training and apprenticeships, Gloucestershire College, David Owen, director of economy and environment, Gloucestershire County Council and Morten Steen Mjels, vice president of sales, Darkscope, a major international cyber security business.

You can read more about the event here

Gareth also talked about the opportunities that the project will generate in terms of supply chain. The Chamber will encourage these at every opportunity and our Together Gloucestershire project aims to promote more local procurement and supply chain purchase.

The first major construction will be the 160k square foot Innovation Centre. This “catalytic building” will host start-ups, existing and incoming businesses along with an event space, which will be available to the local community. The final development will include housing to appeal to a wide range of families and individuals, including a significant number of affordable properties.

Addressing Future Skills Needs

Along with sustainability and inclusivity, attracting the right people, and equipping them with the right skills, is another critical element in the Economic Strategy. GlosCol and our University are working hard to understand the needs of our businesses and adapt their offerings accordingly. The Chamber is also working hard at this. Our Business and Education project is designed to bring local businesses and schools together to help young people get closer to the world of work.

Together We’re Stronger

It has never been more important for business, public authorities, education and groups such as the Chamber to work together – and be constructive critics, where necessary – to build a vibrant, innovative and sustainable economy for Cheltenham.

You can find out more about our projects here. If you’d like to know even more or perhaps participate, please email our Projects Executive, Lindsey Holland.

We can also use our connections to pass on Member views. If you have any thoughts about any of the topics discussed please email





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