Recently, I have been very IMpressed by the North Devon business community.
I’m impressed by a number of businesses I’ve seen investing in and improving their operations. I’m impressed by young people who are eager to find jobs and who are doing impressive work in schools. I’m impressed by people I see working very hard to improve the economy.
Yet when I look at the many things that are wrong, I could easily become DEpressed.
Like everywhere else, the problems are big: unemployment, disconnected young people, empty shops, red tape and more.
I see a choice: moan about how bad things are – so they’ll stay bad – or work to improve them.
I choose the latter, even though I know any action taken now is likely to take several years or more to have a visible effect. Is that a reason not to do anything?
And who is going to do it? It’s not going to happen by itself.
I guess it’s up to us.
Many of us are already working hard to develop our businesses, but we need to improve the business environment in which we operate.
If we want to have up-to-date infrastructure such as superfast broadband, it’s up to us to demonstrate the market need. If we find council planning departments are obstructing economic development and deterring investment, we need to let councils know. If we find bureaucracy is stifling enterprise, we need to let our MPs know.
The voice of one business is unlikely to change anything. The voices of a hundred businesses won’t necessarily change anything either. Perhaps hundreds or thousands of vocal businesses can start to create a stir and continued lobbying by these hundreds or thousands of businesses over weeks or months will start to be heard.
Is it worth it?
Today I have been so impressed by the work of school students that it has inspired me to write this blog. These talented young people will soon be making career choices and the North Devon economy needs them to regenerate the local workforce. But it takes a lot of effort to create job opportunities and fund training. I think that these young people deserve the best chance possible and that we need it to achieve prosperity in years ahead.
I am impressed with the potential for the future in North Devon . . . even if it requires a lot of very hard work.
What do you think we can do to make things better?