The Isle of Wight Business Ambassador Scheme has been officially launched. More than 40 Island based business people have signed up to promote the Isle of Wight as a place to live and work, showcasing the benefits of the Island as a destination where businesses can relocate or start up. The ambassadors are volunteers and represent businesses that include exporters, manufacturers and transport operators.

The launch event was held on Friday 4th May at the Royal Ocean Racing Club in Cowes. It was hosted by Kevin Smith, the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Executive who established the Business Ambassador Scheme. It’s part of the Chamber’s work to attract investment to the Island, adding value and investing in the future. The Chamber will be the key contact for prospective businesses looking to relocate and the network of ambassadors will be able to provide real world support and insight.

Mr John Owen CMG MBE DL is the Chair of the IW Business Ambassador Scheme. He commented: “Our business ambassadors have a wide reaching network of contacts on the mainland and overseas. They can speak from personal experience about their own company and their involvement in the Island. Many of the ambassadors have created their own businesses here on the Island and they know how the business environment here is a supportive one. Our ambassadors also show that the Isle of Wight is so much more than a holiday destination, representing a depth and breadth of business. I’m grateful to all of our ambassadors who are volunteering to help to invest in the Island’s future.”

The Ambassador Scheme is linked closely to the Chamber’s recent published 2030 Vision, as Peter Tomlinson, the Chamber’s Vice President explains.
“The Island is a great place and the Ambassador network is one way in which we can market the Isle of Wight as a destination for business. We are very proud of the Island and what we are. We’re also recognising the areas where we need to improve. The 2030 Vision is a set of goals and ambitions and I’m very pleased that the administration at IW Council has adopted this as their own agenda. The Vision is no longer just the Chamber’s – it’s now a vision for the Isle of Wight – and that’s important to me because we’re all pulling in the same direction. The Vision gives us all a common language with which to discuss and to promote the Isle of Wight.”

Isle of Wight Council leader Cllr Dave Stewart is an honorary Business Ambassador. He also spoke at the launch.
“One of my ambitions is to really ‘pump’ the ambassador scheme over the next 12 months. I’m really comfortable with the Chamber’s 2030 Vision and I want to draw on the expertise of the Chamber and the Island’s business community to help us to move forward as a local authority. The Chamber has a key role to play and its Business Ambassadors have a strong international reach. I want us all to work together, productively and at pace.”

Kevin Smith, the Chamber’s Chief Executive welcomed the launch of the scheme and used the opportunity to stress that this is the beginning of a new way of promoting the Island.
“It’s time to be different and to talk about the great things about the Isle of Wight. The 2030 Vision is a collective aspiration and an ambition where everybody can play their part. The badge of the Isle of Wight Business Ambassadors is a brand that will raise the game for the Isle of Wight in business locations all over the globe.”

Main picture: from left, Chamber CEO Kevin Smith, IW Council Leader Dave Stewart and the Chamber’s Vice President Peter Tomlinson

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