Businesses in the borough will receive even more support, now the Council’s new Business and Retail Champion has taken up her post.
Susan Shaw, previously a specialist in business growth and development, joined the Council’s economic development team on Monday. Her appointment fulfils a commitment made by the Cabinet in October to recruit a champion to be an advocate for all businesses in the borough.
Susan will be heavily involved in the Council’s inward investment programme, following its successful launch last year. An important part of her work will be identifying potential development opportunities and building links between businesses and land or premises owners. She also works towards building a pro-business approach across the Council’s activities.
Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture, said:
“Bringing Susan on board will strengthen our already robust links with business in this borough. It is the private sector that will drive growth as we lift ourselves out of the recession, and it is the Council’s duty to make that as easy for businesses as possible. That’s why the Cabinet recognised the importance of recruiting someone with the right skills to do this.
“Susan will take responsibility for a number of projects, including the Town Centres Opportunities Fund and co-ordinating the borough wide business and retail alliance we have already set up. She will be the voice for business and make sure that our All in One plans for town and village centres include their views and business perspectives on our plans for revitalising town and village centres as a result of the information we have gained from the All in One programme.”
Susan Shaw said: “My task will be to make sure business, industry and the Council understand each other and that we work closer together for the benefit of everyone in the borough.
“Richmond upon Thames has a very lively business scene and the borough has coped relatively well with the recession – there is more that can be done to help our firms and shops return to full strength after the downturn, but we are starting from a good standing point.”
Susan will be a conduit for business and investors seeking to set up or relocate to the borough to create new jobs, as well as helping to build the right balance of businesses in town and village centres.
She will co-ordinate the Council’s Town Centres Opportunities Fund and work with groups representing businesses to build capacity in retail areas, as well as seeing if there are any areas that would benefit from a business or traders’ association.