Stronger Business

The Stronger Business Theme Group is chaired by Tim Keeping, Managing Director of the Marlands Shopping Centre. The BID team member in charge of delivery is Giles Semper (Acting CEO). The 4 core aims of the group are:

1. Achieve Better Economies of Scale
We will secure savings for businesses and increase business-to-business activity. Our 2,500 City Centre businesses span the spectrum of sizes and sectors. We will encourage B2B interaction so that spend is retained within the city. We will encourage sharing of local expertise and innovation. We will also seek opportunities to develop joint procurement arrangements, for example in waste management and energy.

2. Provide a Better Voice for Business
We will be the advocates for businesses in the city centre, both in addressing day-to-day issues and influencing new developments. We will monitor routine services being delivered in the City Centre and report or directly address shortcomings as necessary. Furthermore, the City of Southampton has an extensive programme of forthcoming major developments. We will crystallise and present business views to decision makers to influence the way the city develops. We will make sure that businesses are always kept informed.

3. Developing and Retaining Skills & Talent
We will work with education and skills providers to help deliver a more skilled and committed workforce. The city work force needs to be more aligned to the needs of city centre employers. We will be the face of city centre business to schools, FE colleges and the universities to create better opportunities for employers and prospective employees. We will promote apprenticeships, internships and efforts to increase graduate retention. We will also look to nurture new and start-up businesses in the city centre by signposting them to relevant services.

4. Investment Opportunities
We will actively support new investment in the city and ensure that our status as a commercial centre of regional, national and international importance is recognised and promoted. Southampton has a catalogue of outstanding opportunities for future investment. We will work with landowners and the City Council to market these opportunities and to increase the critical mass of commercial activity in the city centre.

To find our more about the concrete actions and projects of this group, please refer to the business plan or contact Giles Semper at

Projects & Achievements

May 2020 – Local Plan Submission – In May 2020, GO! Southampton as a key consultee for the Southampton City Vision consultation compiled a report to provide a business perspective on the future of Southampton.

March 2020 – Future High Street Fund – Southampton City Council in partnership with GO! Southampton submitted the draft business case for the Future High Street Fund to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The business case focused on the retail spine and the Heart of the City Quarter, with 7 packages identified amounting to £22.5 million of investment. The full business case continues to be developed ahead of submission in June 2020.

March 2020 – Future Southampton: The Business Review – GO! Southampton led an interactive session with 18 businesses
to explore the future of Southampton, considering the key themes from Southampton City Council’s City Vision consultation. The session focused primarily on the BID area, looking at areas of opportunities and barriers to future success.

January 2020 – Urban Lecture Series – GO! Southampton in partnership with Studio B.A.D. launched a new Urban Lecture Series – ‘Reading the City’. Contributors are at the forefront of contemporary urban debate and are providing diverse and often challenging perspectives upon the twenty-first century city. The over-arching objective is to ensure that place-making in the city is informed and inspired by contemporary visions of how urban living can be enhanced.

October 2019 – International Downtown Association Conference – GO! Southampton’s Operations Director was invited to the International Downtown Association Conference in Baltimore. As part of an international panel of experts, GO! Southampton discussed and debated the value of international partnerships to showcase best practice, identify opportunities for shared learning and promote future collaboration.

October 2019 – Delegation to Rotterdam – a second delegation of BID directors, representatives from Southampton City Council and other influential stakeholders journeyed to Rotterdam. The delegation from Baltimore joined this visit to establish an enhanced partnership between the three cities. This visit focused on the active curation of underutilised buildings and securing access to the waterfront.

October 2019 – Delegation from Baltimore –  GO! Southampton hosted a delegation to the city centre from its ‘twin’ organisation in the USA – the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (DPOB). GO! Southampton with the DPOB hosted two participatory sessions – one focused on the delivery and promotion of events and the other on ‘Transforming a Shoreline City’. Participants also heard how Baltimore has created its Bromo Arts District.

September 2019 – toob Partnership – GO! Southampton is pleased to announce our first offical commerical partner is broadband internet service provider toob.

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July 2019 – Future High Street Fund – Southampton was shortlisted with 99 other high streets to progress forward for a share of £1bn Future High Street Fund. The fund aims to renew and reshape high streets in a way that drives economic growth and sustainably improves living standards. The funding could be transformational for the city centre, helping to future-proof it for decades to come.

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June 2019 – City Networking – In summer 2019, GO! Southampton launched its quarterly ‘City Networking’ event. Held on the first Thursdays of June, September and December, these events bring together civic, community, religious and business leaders from throughout the city and aim to build and strong foundation for Southampton’s City of Culture bid.

May 2019 –  The Big Issue – GO! Southampton worked with The Big Issue and Saints Foundation to give 12 Year 9 students from city schools a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create the content for an issue of the magazine.

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May 2019 – Volunteer Scheme – To coincide with Volunteer Week, GO! Southampton announced the news that a new city volunteering programme is set to launch, in collaboration with a number of city stakeholders. This opportunity will enable local businesses and residents alike to give something back to the local community

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May 2019 – Immersive Experience – GO! Southampton co-ordinated an ‘immersive experience’ in Southampton. It enabled business leaders objectively to explore the city centre, looking for opportunities for significant improvement by talking to property owners, businesses and consumers

March 2019 – Future High Street Fund Application – GO! Southampton led the city’s Expression of Interest
application for the government’s Future High Street Fund working in partnership with Southampton City Council. The application focused on the transformation of the Heart of the City quarter, connecting the Old Town with the retail core.

February 2019 –  Partneship to book city prosperity – Directors of the two business-led organisations have signed a memorandum setting out how they will strengthen co-operation on behalf of their respective members.

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November 2018 – Delegation to Rotterdam – A delegation of GO! Southampton board directors and staff, together with a senior council officer, journeyed to Rotterdam. The city’s ‘Make it Happen’ narrative was evident everywhere, with the transformation of the dilapidated post-war concrete shopping centre and the formerly decrepit De Rotterdam area – now a thriving and ‘cool’ waterfront destination. Short and long term interventions were identified and an immediate action plan was published.

February 2018 – Group Procurement Project Launched – GO! Southampton launched its National BIDs Buying Service, delivered by Meercat Associates, to help cut operating costs in levy payers businesses. By harnessing the buying power of all BID members, we can negotiate better rates on a host of essential utilities and services.

September 2017 – City Representation – Secured city representation on key city centre influence groups such as Southampton Connect, the City Centre Communications Group and the Destination Management Strategy Group.

Other Links:

Mid-term Review 

GO! Southampton Year 4 Business Plan

GO! Southampton Year 3 Business Plan

GO! Southampton Year 2 Business Plan

Greater City Centre Experience

Better Marketing