TO DATE the Switch On To Swindon campaign has been focussed on working with businesses already in the borough, building an ambassador network and developing resources.

Now we are going to get a lot more proactive in taking our message outside of the borough boundaries and this started in style last Friday as we worked with the council and Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership to host an important delegation from China.

Like many countries, in a bid to reduce the environmental impact of its vast numbers of vehicles, China has committed to a programme of replacing petrol and diesel vehicles with New Energy Vehicles.

It also sees the potential in developing and providing this technology to other countries, using innovative design and manufacturing.

EV100 is a non-governmental, non-profit forum with a government mandate to enable this programme.

A delegation of 25 Chinese dignitaries and business representatives from EV100 travelled on from a large mission to Hamburg to Warwickshire and then on to Swindon to scope out the potential to create links for trade, research and innovation.

We were able to showcase some of our companies that are leading the field in new energy technology.

Johnson Matthey hosted the delegation in the afternoon to demonstrate the pioneering work they are doing in fuel cell technology.

This also provided an opportunity to show off the hydrogen fuelling station and do some test drives in the hydrogen cars that are currently being used by the National Trust, Arval and the Science Museum.

In the evening the Mayor of Swindon hosted a dinner at Steam which provided a fantastic setting and certainly impressed the visitors.

In welcoming the delegation the Mayor spoke about how proud we all are of our heritage which is a story of innovation, re-invention and always looking forward.

So, while Swindon celebrates its history, we are even more excited about the future and welcome partners from the UK, Europe and the world to be part of that future.

China is a lucrative source of inward investment into the UK and other countries, with billions being invested into various UK opportunities.

This visit gave Swindon an opportunity to establish a connection with China and begin a relationship that has the potential to attract significant investment in the years to come.

It also strengthened the relationship we have with government departments who are responsible for developing international trade relations.

Continuing the theme of putting Swindon on the map, SOTS will be joining colleagues from the SWLEP to attend MIPIM UK later this week in London.

MIPIM UK is the largest property event in the real estate industry. It is where most of the potential investors gather to network and explore opportunities.

If you are serious about competing for investment then this is the place to be so we’ll be flying the flag for Swindon and getting us well and truly on the radar.

Back on the home front our Great Place story campaign continues with two more ambassador stories released last week. We now have 16 at