Businesses in the West of England face a challenge like no other as the national response to the COVID-19 outbreak has taken hold.
Employers across the region have moved quickly to adjust to new measures whilst dealing with a flurry of information and guidance from government about what to do and how to access business support. Concerns about the pressure on the NHS and public bodies combines with anxiety about how businesses can continue trading as the economy is placed into temporary hibernation.
The most striking thing about this crisis for me is that everyone is impacted. Whatever sector we are in, we are indeed all in this together. The principles of collaboration and working together have never been more important than they are now.
It was heartening therefore to join a conversation with many other businesses recently to hear more about the collective efforts to respond to this crisis and recover from it. The West of England Initiative was set up more than 30 years ago as a platform for bringing businesses together to benefit of the region’s economy. They hosted a webinar for businesses to provide an update on the local response and the support available for businesses.
“We’re in completely unprecedented times and it’s really important that we come together as a business community to address this,” said Initiative President Richard Bonner in his introduction to the webinar, which you can view here.
That spirit of togetherness has helped to catalyse action in a number of areas which were shared on the webinar:
Whilst there are undoubtedly challenges ahead, we can be encouraged by how the region is coming together to find ways to address this crisis. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented responses, and businesses are rallying to that cause.
“I’ve seen in unprecedented way as a business community and a business organisation together with the partners in the city how we’ve pulled together,” said Initiative CEO and Business West Executive Director James Durie. “I think lots of barriers have come down, [and people are saying]: ‘Actually, we are all in this together. How can we help businesses to sustain themselves and help people to feel safe?’”
I’m confident that this spirit of collaboration and focus on supporting each other will help us to get through this crisis successfully.
A version of this post first appeared on Business West’s website.