OPEN FOR BUSINESS: North Devon seaside towns look to the future

Even before the recent submission of Damien Hirst’s application to build 750 high quality homes, businesses in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe had already scheduled a major conference and exhibition in 2014 to promote the area’s accelerating regeneration.

While research by the Centre for Social Justice suggests some UK seaside towns are trapped in a ‘cycle of poverty’, these three North Devon towns will be highlighting the opportunities available at OPEN FOR BUSINESS at the Landmark Theatre and Pavilion, Ilfracombe on Thursday 6 March, 2014.

Hosted by local business group COMBEbusiness, the event will showcase businesses at an exhibition in the pavilion, while a day-long programme of speaker panels presenting on and debating key issues will run in the 480-seat theatre. The event offers free entry to visitors.

“OPEN FOR BUSINESS is an opportunity for people to update their impressions of the area where regeneration is gathering speed,” said Robert Zarywacz, chairman of COMBEbusiness.

“Seaside towns across the country have struggled for decades to establish new identities and we are pleased to see progress in North Devon. Damien Hirst’s Verity has attracted much attention, while JD Wetherspoon’s investment in its new Admiral Collingwood pub is another vote of confidence. A nearby holiday park is investing £2.5 million in its facilities and new, high quality retailers are opening up all the time to transform the shopping experience.

“With hundreds of independent shops, some of the best restaurants and tearooms in Devon, two world-class manufacturing plants and viable new businesses opening all the time, the business mood is definitely optimistic.

“In addition, we are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on the edge of Exmoor National Park, enjoy Woolacombe’s award-winning beaches plus Ilfracombe’s unique harbour. Where else would you want to run a business while living on a stunning coastline?”

OPEN FOR BUSINESS aims

➤ Recognise and promote existing businesses – from small to large, manufacturing to tourism

➤ Highlight opportunities to increase trade within the three ‘combes’ themselves, across North Devon, regionally and nationally

➤ Detail current investment, promote existing planning permission and discuss opportunities for new development at every level

The conference speaker programme will be confirmed shortly and exhibitions stands are now available for businesses to book online at open4biz.co.uk

Opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs

OPEN FOR BUSINESS is hosted by COMBEbusiness and supported by Devon County Council and North Devon Council.

It offers the opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs to discuss investing in, starting up or running a business in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe plus the chance to talk to existing business owners.

“The area has fantastic potential and we are now seeing interest from larger investors,” said Robert Zarywacz.

“By attending OPEN FOR BUSINESS, investors and entrepreneurs with vision will realise the potential.”

Visitors can register for free entry to OPEN FOR BUSINESS at open4biz.co.uk.

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