Why The Growth Hub Gloucestershire's network is 'the best in the country'

Exemplifying its value to the local economy, The Growth Hub Gloucestershire remains at the forefront of the county's business community following its transition to Gloucestershire County Council in 2024 — with SoGlos speaking to the head of the council's new growth and enterprise team, Dev Chakraborty, about its past successes and what's in store for the future.

By Jake Chown  |  Published
Head of the new growth and enterprise team at Gloucestershire County Council, Dev Chakraborty, says he is 'super proud' of what has been achieved by The Growth Hub Gloucestershire across its 10-year lifespan.

As one of The Growth Hub Gloucestershire's original business guides and former deputy chief executive of GFirst LEP, Dev Chakraborty is no stranger to the county-wide support network empowering local businesses to thrive and grow.

In his new role as head of the growth and enterprise team at Gloucestershire County Council, SoGlos chats to Dev about The Growth Hub network's biggest achievements and how it is continuing to support Gloucestershire businesses in 2024 and beyond.

Dev, tell us a bit about your new role with The Growth Hub Gloucestershire and your recent transition to Gloucestershire County Council.

As you may have heard, following a decision from central Government in 2023 around the funding of Local Enterprise Partnerships, GFirst LEP has transferred to Gloucestershire County Council. Testament to the fantastic range of projects and improvements GFirst has achieved over the past 12 years, almost all members of the LEP team were transferred on Monday 1 April 2024.

I'm now heading up the new ‘growth and enterprise’ team at Gloucestershire County Council, which brings the LEP’s much loved brands together. From what has been a difficult period of uncertainty for us all, our message to the Gloucestershire business community is very much it’s ‘business as usual’ in terms of our key programmes, including our amazing Growth Hub network, alongside our successful Inward Investment and Made in Gloucestershire initiatives.

The Growth Hub Gloucestershire celebrates its 10th anniversary this year — what impact has it had on the local business community over the past 10 years?

What a milestone! The hub first opened its doors at the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus in 2014, moving into the impressive Business School in 2017. Since this time, the hub has welcomed more than 30,000 people through its doors and contributed an estimated economic boost of £21.5 million for Gloucestershire. Just fantastic!

The Growth Hub Gloucester has also been an incredible springboard for launching our other five hubs across the county, enabling us to deliver fully funded business support right on the doorstep.

Starting out at The Growth Hub Gloucestershire as one of its original business guides, what are you most proud of from the last decade?

I was indeed one of the original business guides at the Growth Hub back in 2014 — and seeing the sheer number of businesses that The Growth Hub Gloucestershire has supported in that time is absolutely amazing! I worked with some great companies in those early days, including Cotteswold Dairy, Sibling Distillery, Goodflex Rubber and Cloudtamers to name a few, I really enjoyed it — every day was different!

As a network we have supported more than 14,000 local businesses, propelling them towards their growth aspirations, and I’m super proud of that! The breadth and depth of The Growth Hub’s services is something else I’m really proud of, with clients in all stages of business development, industries and sectors benefiting from our government-funded services.

If I had £1 for every time I’ve described our Growth Hub network as the ‘best in the country’, I’d be a rich man!

What’s new for The Growth Hub in 2024 and what can Gloucestershire businesses expect from the future?

The Growth Hub has a brand-new website that puts users in greater control of their journey for a more personalised experience. With an online account you can access your new dashboard, book training events, and access a vast amount of resources on the go. What’s more, you can request support from our expert navigators at any time; today, tomorrow, and further into the future, there's no restriction — you're welcome to come back to us any time.

Watch this space for an exciting new AI diagnostic tool, that will offer access to a significant amount of information 24/7, 365 days a year! This investment in AI technology will keep The Growth Hub Gloucestershire at the cutting edge of technology and ahead of the game compared to the rest of the country.

How would you describe the business community here in Gloucestershire — and what are some of your favourite things about working with businesses in the county?

I’ve always thought the business community in Gloucestershire was like working in a ‘big village’, there’s a great entrepreneurial spirit and a genuine willingness to help. The Growth Hub network has over 30 hub mentors and our business groups have over 200 members, all giving their time and expertise free of charge.

How can businesses get help from The Growth Hub?

We have six physical Growth Hubs in Gloucestershire, one in each local authority district, you can find their locations on our website thegrowthhub.biz — and I would simply recommend getting in touch with your local Growth Hub and our friendly teams will take it from there.

In partnership with The Growth Hub  |  thegrowthhub.biz

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