News & views

Other pages in this section

Highlighting current barriers to, and opportunities for local business

7 February 2024

Some of the key barriers facing, and opportunities available to businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire were highlighted at a recent Leicestershire Business Voice (LBV) members event.

At LBV’s ‘Shaping the future’ event, held at Nelsons in Leicester, members were asked to identify ‘current local barriers for your business and others to thrive’ and ‘current local opportunities for your business and others to have greater impact’.

Attendees were also asked for ideas on how LBV can better serve its members in 2024 and beyond. The feedback received from members included:



  • Lack of local public transport connecting villages in county to city.
  • Good connectivity by rail to London but extremely expensive.
  • Poor connectivity by rail and road East to West.
  • Cost and availability of car parking.
  • Lack of integrated transport solutions.
  • Paucity of EV points.

Working practices

  • Problems for owner-managed businesses managing requirement to provide agile working.
  • IT connectivity patchy so creating problems for those who require agile working.
  • WFH leading to local small businesses losing spend.

Skills shortage

  • Lack of home grown skills and challenges of retention.
  • Difficulties in recruiting – poor external perception of Leic/Leics mean high quality staff leave or choose another city where they perceive there will be greater opportunities.

Political landscape

  • Fragmentation city/county.
  • Devolution.
  • East Midlands Mayor.
  • Leic ‘always going alone’.
  • Political agenda does not match needs of local business and connectivity is poor.


  • Investment by Govt is significantly lower than elsewhere because we are fragmented/lack of cohesive voice/have no “big hitters”.
  • Where do we develop and support business leaders of the future?
  • How do SMEs and small businesses access catalytic capital, e.g. grants, when they often lack skills and time to cross bureaucratic hurdles required to apply.


Networking/relationship development

  • Building co-ordinated regional supply chain ecosystem.
  • Building collaborative networks across different businesses.
  • Collaboration with agencies/education to help with recruitment.
  • Increase business networking opportunities + awareness of the same to build long term relationships.
  • Useful networking opportunities – relationship intros v generic networks.
  • Rural business networks.
  • Developing networks across sectors + disciplines.
  • Knowledge of the appropriate + relevant circles to mix in.


  • So many big empty office buildings.
  • Place-based investment + community-led projects.
  • More office working to collaborate more + achieve new ideas + goals.
  • Access to free business meeting areas.
  • Flexible + affordable co-working spaces.
  • Back to the office.

Education/ Collaboration

  • Universities – Many ‘technology’, ‘new industries’ based + start-ups.
  • Collaboration between businesses and schools/college to encourage growth and education in the city.
  • Collaborations with other cities such as Nottingham/Derby.


Raising voice /lobbying

  • Connection between public and private sector.
  • How can LBV differentiate itself from other business lobbying/networking organisations?
  • Being more proactive on lobbying key issues – having chosen 2/3 key ones to focus on.
  • More resource around navigating the local landscape – joining the gap between public and private sector stakeholders.
  • Bridging the gap between largest corporates and SMEs.
  • Look at whole picture of networking groups + lobby together rather than individually.
  • Forum to voice to council/other bodies.
  • One business voice. Stronger together.
  • Market Leicester via big businesses to attract young people/graduates to work and thrive here.
  • Support younger business owners.
  • With so many professional groups > SMEs

Board members

  • Include young board members to increase younger participation.
  • Trusted link to talent and ideas at regional universities.
  • Too many business professionals on board – diversify away from advisers.
  • Diversity on board membership.
  • More sector engagement on board.
  • Reminder of what happens in the room at LBV.
  • More engagement with business rather than advisers. Very professional services focussed.
  • More engagement with younger business leaders.


  • Targeted events for specific specialisms.
  • Promote bringing businesses together for focussed networking/collaboration.
  • Promote LBV to variety of stakeholders.
  • Education in ESG, Net Zero.


  • General management development for CPD.

Follow Leicestershire Business Voice