LEADERS from Swindon’s business community will come together on Tuesday for the launch of an ambitious new marketing initiative.

‘Switch on to Swindon’ is aimed at spearheading a coordinated effort to let the rest of the country know that the town has a great deal to offer for businesses of all sizes and the staff that they employ.

The project is the evolution of five years of work by Influence, a board set up in 2012 to act as Swindon’s business voice.

In that time, the organisation has driven positive change in the town and ensured that those holding the public purse strings were acting with the views of key employers and growth creators in mind.

On Tuesday, more than 300 representatives from business, the community and public sector bodies will come together to begin the next chapter of that effort when ‘Switch on to Swindon’ gets underway.

Nicky Alberry, the chairman of the Influence board, said: “When we set up Influence about five years ago the idea was to get the business community working with the public sector to make Swindon a really great place to live, work and do business.

“We’ve done a number of really good pieces of work in partnership that are starting to come to fruition - for example the skills and employment board and the cultural partnership.

“One of the things we’ve been hugely conscious of is the perception and the image that, sadly, Swindon has.

“As a business community we want to do something about that.”

The team behind Switch on to Swindon examined how similar initiatives had fared in other parts of the country before opting for the business-led model they will unveil next week.

“We looked at what cities like Coventry, Hull and Doncaster have done in terms of galvanising everybody’s energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the town to produce what we’re now calling a place marketing campaign,” said Nicky.

“It’s the business community that are dealing with recruiting people, trying to attract them to Swindon and we need the town to be an attractive location.”

Swindon Borough Council has been keen to support the launch of the new initiative, with figures from the senior leadership who were part of the Influence board continuing their ongoing commitment with this latest project.

Gavin Calthrop, head of place marketing at the council, said: “We need to mobilise businesses, community organisations and local people to sell Swindon.

“Businesses can do things in a more flexible and dynamic way than the council necessarily can, the most successful models show that - the council’s responsibility is to support and facilitate that.”

At the launch event on Tuesday, business figures will be asked to become ambassadors for Swindon, to share their stories of success to help develop a positive message that is the culmination of a combined input from across the town.

“We want people to tell us what we need to develop and do to tell Swindon’s story more effectively,” explained Gavin.

“Tuesday is the absolute start of this, an invitation to come together and positively promote our town.”

Swindon has established itself as the seventh most productive economy in the UK. The employment rate is the fifth highest in the country and improving consistently.

It has become a popular place for people to come to raise families, having not seen the steep rise in house prices that has been witnesses around the country. One of the biggest urban expansions in Europe is planned for the east of the town in the coming years.

Council leader David Renard said: “I’m delighted that the town’s business community is taking on the role of positioning Swindon as one of the top places in the UK for enterprise, innovation and economic success, as well as a great place to live.

“The fact that more than 300 representatives of businesses and organisations have registered for the launch event shows that there is huge will in the town to share what has long been a well-kept secret - that Swindon continues to be a success story for business.

"Add in the fact that we have a very lively and engaged community and it’s not a hard sell to make. I and my colleagues look forward to watching the Place Marketing Board put Swindon on the national map as a business destination of choice.”