First Portsmouth & District Business Week starts with focus on helping businesses return to growth after tricky 18 months

THE first Portsmouth & District Business Week got off to a flying start as scores of businesses gathered online to hear from experts, take part in workshops and network.

By Kimberley Barber
Monday, 5th July 2021, 11:23 am
Shevaun Haviland, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce speaking at the launch of the first Portsmouth & District Business Week
Shevaun Haviland, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce speaking at the launch of the first Portsmouth & District Business Week

Organised by Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the Portsmouth Business Strategy Leadership Group, the week runs until Friday, July 9 and will bring together key partner stakeholders across the city and neighbouring business communities to share their expertise, advice and know-how in a grand celebration of enterprise.

The launch event was hosted by Aaron Butson, assistant principal at HSDC and Ross McNally, executive chair and CEO of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

It heard from guest speakers Cllr Ben Dowling, cabinet member for culture, leisure and economic development at Portsmouth City Council and Shevaun Haviland, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce.

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They spoke about some of the challenges businesses have faced over the past 18 months - and what is needed for them to return to growth over the next 18 months.

Ms Haviland said: ‘The last five quarters have seen catastrophic drops in the usual business indicators, however our latest report has shown some positive news in that businesses are looking forward but still with a little bit of fragility. Fifty-five per cent of businesses expect their turnover to grow but they were cautious and one of the biggest concerns was the rising cost of raw materials and how that was going to drive up inflation.’

She said they would continue to work with the government to make sure the voice of small business was heard and push for a continuation of business coronavirus support, especially for the hardest hit industries.

Cllr Dowling said the council was working on numerous projects to promote business in the city, such as the Tipner West scheme, Southsea sea defences, and the City Centre North Project, as well as investing in the city’s district centres and enterprise centres.

He said: ‘Local businesses are absolutely essential for the city’s growth but it is not just about growth at the moment, we have to deal with recovery at the same time and the city's businesses will be at the centre of that. I am really pleased that we have this week dedicated to business.’

There will be virtual and physical events taking place all week, with key businesses sharing knowledge, wisdom and contacts to help businesses maximise their role in Portsmouth and beyond.

Events are based on a variety of topics such as: Future of High Street, International Trade, Creative Industries, Self-Employment and more.

One of the highlights of the week will be The News Business Excellence Awards, which take place at Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday evening. It will also be live-streamed to The News Facebook page.

Mr Butson said: ‘After 15 months of hard work we never stopped dreaming of doing something special and this week we have a chance for us to do something special for businesses in the city. This week sees a variety of events and brings together businesses, education providers and key partners to promote and celebrate success.’

For more information on the events go to

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