14 May 2019 Guildford Borough Council Economic Development – Business Bulletin May 2019

Sep 10, 2019

Welcome to the May Business Bulletin from the Economic Development Team at Guildford Borough Council, we hope that you find the information useful

Innovation Strategy

Guildford Borough Council’s Executive has approved a bold new Innovation Strategy aimed at ensuring a safe, secure and sustainable future for the borough, its residents, businesses and visitors. 

Embracing a digital future, promoting high quality flexible infrastructure and improving the delivery of Council services, the new Strategy will support the local economy to reflect the needs of our changing society, placing Guildford at the leading edge of innovation and transformation. The Innovation Strategy will be reviewed and updated annually.

It follows the Council’s corporate plan, addressing three key priorities in 2019/20:


  • Facilitating ‘smart places’ infrastructure across the borough  • Guildford as the Innovator’s location of choice  • Future Guildford – value for money and efficiency in Council services 

Cllr Gordon Jackson, Lead Councillor for Innovation and Transformation, explains: ‘The speed of change is such that nobody can accurately predict what the future holds over the next 15-20 years – we can only be certain of massive and disruptive transformation. While technology remains a catalyst for innovation, our strategy recognises that creative, original solutions are just as important to support local economic competitiveness and quality of life for residents. The adoption of innovation and digital technologies will facilitate a ‘smart’, sustainable and vibrant town that will generate prosperity, now and for future generations.’  Collaborative working is a key component in successful innovation and the Council will continue to progress its work with partners across all sectors.  The strategy recognises the importance of a range of organisations and businesses, particularly the University of Surrey where ground-breaking research is happening. President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, Max Lu, supports innovation and champions working together. He said: ‘Innovation for sustainability is vital to shaping a better future around the globe. Collaboration will be the key to success.’ 

A digital edition of the Strategy will be available soon – please email chris.stanton@guildford.gov.uk  if you would like more information.

*Save the Date* Guildford Games Festival 28-29 June G Live

Just two months to go until our borough (aka The UK Hollywood of Gaming) hosts its first gaming festival to highlight Guildford’s creative talent and contribution to a market worth around $81bn globally – with over 1000 people employed locally in this sector. Led and coordinated by UKie (UK Interactive Entertainment), the only trade body for the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry, we are part sponsoring the event alongside the Enterprise M3 LEP and University of Surrey. The Council’s new Innovation Strategy prioritizes supporting the rapid growth of this exciting and dynamic sector. Friday 28 June is a business/education expo. and Saturday 29 June is family/consumer focused. Industry and trade body safety advisors ‘Ask About Games’ http://www.askaboutgames.com will be attending the event to answer any queries parents have on video games age ratings, how to play responsibly and other helpful tips. More details are here: https://guildford.games/Festival with full program to follow. 

Innovate Guildford Festival 23 March 2019

A huge thank you to all our contributors at this year’s Innovate Guildford festival!  Thousands of people enjoyed the fantastic variety of interactive exhibits, talks and performances at the fourth annual event at G Live on 23 March.  As the event producers, we are so grateful to the many organisations taking part, offering their time at the weekend to inspire the next generation of creative thinking.

Estimates for visitors to the festival are between 4,500 and 5,000, usefully up on 2018 (helped by not having blizzard conditions to contend with!), and reflected in 24% higher web stats, a good indication of the reach of the festival.  Tickets for shows, talks and workshops were mostly sold out.

Have a look at the gallery of photos: https://www.guildford.gov.uk/IG19photos

This year’s evaluation asked respondents interviewed on the day to score the following aspects of IG19 from 0 (very poor) to 6 (excellent) and the results were, on average:

            Informative                 5.43/6

            Interesting                   5.62/6

            Entertaining                5.57/6

            Well organised            5.49/6

…an amazing 5.53/6 average, thanks to the quality and commitment of all our contributors.

IG19 also saw the world premiere of Miss Understood, commissioned by Guildford Borough Council/Innovate Guildford and delivered by social change company GeeYou.  This fast-moving comedy explores the journey of a young girl fighting to fulfil her dreams of being a scientist, and aligns perfectly with GBC’s themes of innovation and inclusion.  GeeYou are developing this play for performance at schools; if you’re interested in learning more about the initiative, contact nick@geeyou.co.uk for details.

Innovation Awards 2019

The 2019 Innovation Awards will launch on 3 June, with a closing date of 31 October – do check the Awards web page for details coming soon: www.guildford.gov.uk/innovationawards – this could be your year!  More details to follow.

Business Insight – featuring a successful Guildford company

Andertons Music Co is a family owned business that has operated in Guildford since 1964. Despite its modest shop front on Woodbridge Rd, near the centre of Guildford, Andertons Music Co employs over 100 people and is one of the biggest musical instrument retailers in the UK.

Even before the internet existed Andertons was a respectably sized retailer, but it’s been since the advent of online sales, and particularly since the launch of Andertons TV on YouTube that sales have really taken off.  Lee Anderton says… “Our YouTube channel has over half a million subscribers & we produce a variety of entertaining & helpful programs about the products we sell. On an average month we will get about 4 million views on our YouTube channel and a percentage of these viewers will buy something from Andertons as a result of what they watch. We’ve invested heavily in e-commerce & our logistics capacity, including a massive upgrade to our website in 2017 & the opening of a 50,000 sq ft distribution centre (also in Guildford) to handle the volume of orders we get. Although about 75% of our orders now come online, it hasn’t changed the store on Woodbridge Rd from being the heart & soul of what we do. It’s like a Tardis in there – first time visitors are always amazed at how much space there is & we pack a lot of guitars, keyboards, drum kits & the like into the space. We focus everything on the customer experience, and whether you shop instore or online, whether you’re a novice or a pro, we strive to make the experience the best it can be.”

Andertons Music Co has received plenty of recognition from the music industry & the wider retail industry too. Over the last 15 years they’ve been voted as the best Music Store in the UK on several occasions, picked up the award for best large business in Surrey, and in 2018 won the prestigious Best Music Dealer in World Award from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the biggest music trade association in the world representing every major music brand & retailer you can think of!

So why stay in Guildford?? Lee Anderton continues… “It’s where my family are from – I grew up here, went to school here, started my family here. It has just always been good to me. It’s a great place to find talented people to help the business thrive, the music college (ACM) has brought a vibrancy to the place, it’s safe & it’s busy!”


Corporate Ambassadors
Guildford Philanthropy aims to bring together local people, businesses and organisations to transform the lives of less fortunate members of our community and address the disadvantage that exists on our doorstep.  

We support projects that deliver training opportunities, work experience, jobs and other benefits to local people who need help.   We aim to build confidence and self-esteem by encouraging the development of new skills to enable those in need to improve their lives.  

We also help local charities, community and voluntary groups to become more sustainable and enhance their ability to tackle needs across our community.  

We are asking local businesses and organisations to join our philanthropic movement as Corporate Ambassadors.  www.guildfordphilanthropy.org.uk

Please contact info@guildfordphilanthropy.org.uk for more information.

Corporate volunteering

Guildford Borough Council own and manage 50 countryside sites covering an area of nearly 700ha, 2.5% of the borough’s land area, including woodland, meadows and heathland.

These areas contribute to a network of publicly accessible countryside as well as wildlife habitat managed by other landowners.

It is our aim to make our countryside accessible and enjoyable for all, while providing habitat for wildlife. We manage our sites so that future generations are able to enjoy the same or improved nature areas.

Two of our heathland sites and Shalford Water Meadows are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and we currently have five Local Nature Reserves.

As the landowner, Guildford Borough Council has an obligation to protect and safeguard the Special Protection Areas, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and registered Commons for future generations.

Corporate volunteering opportunities

Why not get out of the office and spend a day in the countryside with our wardens. You will get hands-on experience of land management and conservation while having fun and strengthening team bonds.

We welcome any group of people, with tasks that can suit any number of volunteers. Previous tasks have included coppicing hazel in Weybrook, pulling pines in Pirbright, thinning out Birch in Chantry Wood and uncovering protected historic buildings in Chilworth. We will often have a bonfire to burn brash too, so no matter what the weather, it is a great day out.

The sessions run from 9.30am to 2pm.

No previous experience is needed, just enthusiasm, a raincoat, and sturdy footwear. Conservation tasks are open to everyone over 18.

Let us know what you would like to do and we’ll get back to you with what we can offer.  Please see our website: https://www.guildford.gov.uk/countryside or email: countrysidevolunteers@guildford.gov.uk to find out more. 

Sponsorship Opportunities Available
A number of significant sponsorship and advertising opportunities now exist within Guildford Borough Council. All of these exciting initiatives include attractive PR and marketing activations.

Bespoke packages can be built to meet individual business objectives and can include supporting local events, projects, town centre promotion, branding and licensed commercial activity.

If you would like to discuss any of the above opportunities including advertising, please get in touch with Stephanie.Maynard@Guildford.gov.uk