By Daniel Hunter

The Somerset Chamber of Commerce has been selected, following a competitive pitch, to handle the Into Somerset inward investment drive for Somerset for another three years from 1st April 2012.

Five organisations submitted tenders to Somerset County Council, in conjunction with the five district councils, in a bid to run the campaign, which has been coordinated by the Somerset Chamber since 2008.

Into Somerset handled 76 promising investment enquiries during 2011, with interest coming from businesses based both in the UK and overseas. A total of 14 of these companies have already invested in Somerset and 700 jobs have been created from the start of the project.

Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Cllr David Hall, spoke about the decision to appoint the Somerset Chamber of Commerce.

“It is excellent news that the Somerset Chamber will continue as delivery partner for Into Somerset building on the successes already achieved and promoting our shared ambitions," he said.

"Focussing on plans for high speed broadband and building on our local strengths, in areas such as food production, are just two of many areas where we will be working collaboratively.

"Attracting businesses to Somerset at a time of slow economic growth nationally, means Somerset must stand out internationally as an exceptional place to live and work. I am looking forward to seeing further successes, particularly from the So Well Connected campaign, and wish Rupert Cox and his team well for the next three years.”

Speaking on behalf of the board, Chair of Into Somerset, Cllr Anne Fraser, said, “We are delighted to be able to commence the next three years with the knowledge that Rupert Cox and his team will be continuing at the helm of the county’s flagship inward investment company.

“We have a lot to be proud of — employment in Somerset is well above the average, the county has the seventh lowest unemployment rate in the country and we are seeing extremely positive business growth. Broadband speeds in urban areas are getting faster and will soon be improving across the wider rural areas as a result of a significant government grant achieved by Somerset County Council.”

Into Somerset recently launched a new marketing campaign, entitled So Well Connected, which highlights how well connected the county is — including great transport infrastructure, friendly and dynamic business networks, an enviable quality of life and the planned high speed broadband connectivity.

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