West Norfolk businesses have common cause - By Caroline Williams, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive

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Networking groups are numerous nowadays. It’s vital activity, helping companies to do business with each other.

It’s healthy, but it’s competitive. There will be more businesses than yours trying to sell to that new contact you’ve just made. It’s business.

Sometimes though we need to think about West Norfolk’s businesses within the context of their having common aims. The times when we need to leave the competitive pitches at the door and pitch in together.

I hardly need to remind you that road and rail connections with our region are a consistently hot topic. Everywhere seems to get sorted before us. Some great strides have been made of course. The A11, and the A47, coming into focus at last although we were disappointed that the Dereham to Kings Lynn stretch of the A47 was ignored. More work to do to make our case.

It’s important to note that much of what has been achieved to date, and much of what we’ll need in the future for our infrastructure has, and will, only come about when commerce joins forces to speak up for our needs. Improved mobile and mroadband are very much needed and for superfast broadband to actually mean superfast!

Let’s turn to our rail links. Customers, and consumer groups have their say. But dissatisfaction, informed opinion and the spelling out of what West Norfolk actually needs to deliver growth are better heard when they are amplified through the concerted voice of companies working together.

Infrastructure aside, our future prosperity is in the hands of our young people. The cooperation of our businesses, and their talking to each other, is essential in securing better apprenticeship and training schemes for those who represent tomorrow.

Working together we can achieve great things. As political power shifts over time, and priorities alter, our needs as a region should not move down altered agendas. Maintaining a high profile for West Norfolk and ensuring things get done, are better achieved when our businesses pull together, and speak with one voice. And that’s quite a voice when it comes from the ranks of world class businesses we have here.

So, let’s remember that sometimes, despite its being necessary for growth, competition must be reassessed. Sometimes it’s better for companies not to compete with each other, but to join forces to compete for West Norfolk.