Swindon Switches ON to new initiative.

Over 400 business people and community representatives joined forces last night (Tuesday 24 January) to signal the start of a new collaborative approach to put Swindon in the spotlight as being a great place to live, work, invest in and visit.

For too long Swindon has suffered from a lack of self-appreciation, despite the town having the fifth highest employment rate in the UK, delivering £6.6 billion in GVA economic output annually and having outstanding education and arts facilities, including one of the finest collections of British Modern Art outside London.

What will make Switch On To Swindon different is that it is driven by local businesses and community groups – the Ambassadors – to support and deliver the changes they want to see.   The campaign is based on similar initiatives from across the country, which have already brought in significant investment for their regions, including Doncaster and Coventry.

Switch On To Swindon has been spearheaded by Nicky Alberry, Chair of Influence, which has now evolved into the Place Marketing Board leading the campaign.

Nicky says: “The start of Switch On To Swindon is major milestone in the success story of our town.

“Five years ago, a diverse group of people from major employers down to SMEs and micro-businesses sat down together and mulled over an idea.  We wanted to be able to work closely with bodies like Swindon Borough Council and the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, to help them understand the needs of business and of the economy, and to understand the challenges and constraints they faced in trying to meet those needs.

“Influence has achieved a lot in the last five years – we initiated a local procurement policy to minimise the red tape for local companies to supply to the public sector; we’ve worked with Nationwide on the introduction of their Military Transition Programme; and we’ve added our collective input to issues of regional and national importance, including the electrification of the railway line, the proposed third runway at Heathrow, Swindon’s Local Plan and its Economic Strategy.

“Now the time has come for every business, whatever the size, to sign up to supporting Swindon as a great place to work, live, do business in, relocate to, and where ideas and innovation thrive.”

Switch On To Swindon is looking for Ambassadors from all ranges of business and community organisations to join the campaign to show people inside and outside of Swindon what we have to offer.


  • The UK’s 7th most productive economy with £58,514 GVA per worker – compared to the national average of £53,666
  • 5th highest employment rate in the UK
  • Between 2010 and 2016 Swindon saw the second largest increase of any UK city in its share of private sector Knowledge Intensive Business Services jobs. (Swindon is classed in the ‘city’ grouping as regards the data we obtained from Centre for Cities.)
  • Nationally significant clusters of high-growth businesses delivering £6.6 billion GVA economic output
  • Swindon has the UK’s 7th largest automotive manufacturing and advanced engineering cluster
  • Swindon has the UK’s 9th largest employment cluster in Health and Life Sciences in the top quartile nationally for banking insurance and professional services
  • Swindon is in the top quartile nationally for creative and digital technology companies
  • Swindon is the UK centre of excellence for hydrogen fuel cell technology
  • 4:1 ratio of private:public sector jobs
  • In the past decade, the number of business start-ups has increased by twice the national average.
  • 281 businesses per 10,000 population
  • The ratio of house prices to earnings is one of the best in the UK
  • Swindon has the UK’s highest concentration of foreign-owned businesses (19%)
  • In 2014 the number of patents granted per 100,000 of population was 7.88, compared to a national average of fewer than 4.

Gallery of Pictures by Rachel Davis & Richard Wintle.