Aerospace and Advanced Engineering
Somerset has a high concentration of aerospace businesses, supplemented by initiatives such as iAero, offering businesses huge potential for innovation, collaboration and expansion. Productivity is above the national average with significant growth opportunities. The promotion of Somerset’s national and global aerospace business reputation and competitiveness is at the heart of what we do.
Department for International Trade (DIT)
South West International Trade Team supports small to medium businesses (SMEs) in the South West of England to develop their international sales and helps first-time or experienced exporters enter new markets.
Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network – support for business innovation.
The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI)
Develop the strategy, and road maps and launch the grant-funded schemes for businesses.
National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP)
Run grant-funded calls for SMEs for new technologies, calls are part of the ATI portfolio.
West of England Aerospace Forum (WEAF)
The local trade body supporting Aerospace
Aerospace Research Centres (ARC)
The national network of universities supporting Aerospace
Agriculture is a critical element of the Somerset economy with farming, forestry and agriculture helping to shape the distinctive character of the countryside in the County, creating a major tourism asset.
Small family run farms and internationally known brands sit side by side forming Somerset’s farming landscape which is renowned for dairy and cider production.
Energy generation and other land based farm diversification help to boost income to ensure long-term viability
Farming and Food Resources Hub – Heart of South West Growth Hub
The Farming and Food Resources Hub brings together information, guides, funding and project opportunities for the farming and food industry.
Nationally significant infrastructure projects such as Hinkley Point C and the A303 highway enhancement are just two high profile recent projects to benefit Somerset’s construction sector. Large companies offering integrated services, small medium size and specialist contractors through to sole traders are prevalent across the County. Somerset Council is working with a range of partners and industry leaders to improve skills and explore opportunities for widening the use of new technologies to ensure the sector remains buoyant into the future.
Construction Industry Council (CIC)
The representative forum for the professional bodies, research organisations and specialist business associations in the construction
Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
Supports the skills needs of the construction industry
Digital and Data
Somerset has large tech clusters for Aerospace, CleanTech, MedTech and Nuclear Energy tech businesses. The BioTech sector is also expanding fast, with companies like Singer Instruments boosting the county’s profile.
There is currently a technology workforce of 10,068 people working across 1,264 firms in the county, with the sector contributing around £658 million a year to Somerset’s economy. However, this is a fast-growing area and our tech industry growth is forecasted at 12.5% annually.
New digital initiatives are being developed by the council to support this growth with the aim of enhancing the skills within the workforce including the creation of the £11m Somerset Digital Innovation Centre (SEIC) and a digital innovation zone. This will provide a fantastic high-grade workspace for local tech-based businesses and dedicated innovation support to help them grow.
Somerset’s digital cluster network is made up of passionate individuals and businesses striving for Somerset to be the hub for digital innovation, business transformation and collaboration. From expert talks, networking, training sessions and even a digital Somerset roadshow, Digital Somerset is bringing together the digitally curious across Somerset.
The tech cluster for the South West of England
Food, Drink and Agri-tech
Food and drink are a huge sector of vital importance to our local economy. Whilst Somerset is known worldwide for its cider and its cheddar cheese, it is also home to Britain’s largest organic brand Yeo Valley, as well as many small independent food and drink companies.
A mapping and research exercise was undertaken in 2021 which highlighted some sector specific needs and issues that local businesses faced – from labelling and food safety regulations to training and supply chain disruptions and a programme of support was undertaken to address the issues and help this sector to grow and thrive.
Devon and Somerset Trading Standards
Trading Standards officers are able to help, by providing tailored services to help you develop your business and comply with Trading standards regulations.
Heart of the South West Growth Hub
Farming and Food Resources Hub brings together information, guides, funding and project opportunities for the farming and food industry.
Advice on food business registration, food safety, labelling and packaging, business support HACCP plans
Food safety management procedures and food hygiene regulations for small businesses
Support for agriculture, food and drink businesses
Trade advisers, events, and export finance. The Department for International Trade.
Your opportunity to get involved in supplying the public sector.
Get on the map of local retailers in Somerset
Food and drink innovation centre, offering food-grade business units and development kitchens, plus hands-on food technical and specialist business support, networking, free events, workshops and seminars on various topics to help you and your food business
Support the thriving community of AgriTech startups and scale-ups
Wendy Hewitson, Eagle Labs AgriTech Programme Manager
Phone: 07468 714959
Roxanne Martin, Eagle Labs Agrifood Lead
Mobile: 07471 145298
Bridgwater and Taunton college food networking group
For more details and to get onto their mailing list to hear about events contact
Neil Morgan, Business and Relationship Manager
Phone: 01278 455464 Ext-6462 DDI: +44(0)1823 366484
Mobile: 07795 557089
Taste of the West is a membership organisation whose mission is to promote local food and drink.
Phone: 01404 822012
Green Business and Clean Growth
We are already a leading area in the UK for clean growth, with the construction of Hinkley Point, (based near Bridgwater) which is due to provide low-carbon electricity for around 6 million homes and will make a major contribution to the UK’s move to reduce carbon emissions.
Somerset council have committed to tackling climate change and making Somerset carbon neutral by 2030. Many Somerset businesses across all sectors and sizes have risen to the challenge, making changes, measuring their carbon footprint and working towards becoming sustainable or increasing their eco credentials.
We are asking everyone who runs a business in Somerset to consider ways in which their business can help tackle climate change. If you would like to be part of a Green Business Network and to be put in touch with those businesses sharing their net zero best practice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The organisations below provide advice and support on decarbonising business practices and becoming more sustainable and ‘green’.
WRAP – The Climate Crisis: Act Now
For excellent information on tackling climate change and circular economy models
Join the B Corp movement as many other Somerset businesses have
We encourage all small businesses to sign up and pledge to cut carbon emissions and help the UK become net zero neutral by 2050.
For further information on Somerset net zero business support:
Small business sustainability hub | FSB, The Federation of Small Businesses
Net Zero – Heart of South West Growth Hub
Climate Emergency – Businesses
Low Carbon Information Hub | SWMAS
SWMAS can support your business as part of their Make it Net Zero programme and Low Carbon Information Hub.
Somerset boasts a large variety of thriving manufacturing firms from SMEs to some of the largest and best-known manufacturers in the world including Leonardo UK Ltd, C&J Clark International Ltd, Numatic International Ltd, Thales UK Ltd, Refresco Beverages UK Ltd, Screwfix Direct Ltd etc. We are home to the largest single infrastructure project in Europe, at Hinkley Point and throughout the region, our growing SME’s have created flexibility in their production and more efficient supply chains, enabling them to adapt, thrive and grow.
Manufacturing in Somerset is now the largest contributor to economic output in Somerset and the second largest sector for employment. Companies of all sizes are excelling whether serving the UK markets or exporting across the world.
South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS)
SWMAS helps manufacturing businesses develop their strategy, capability and capacity to improve and grow. Through their team of experienced manufacturing and supply chain specialists, they bring together a broad range of industrial experience, expertise and resources so that businesses can get the right advice and support and take the necessary actions to fulfil their growth potential.
Department for International Trade (DIT)
(DIT) South West International Trade Team supports small to medium businesses (SMEs) in the South West of England to develop their international sales and helps first time or experienced exporters enter new markets.
The Somerset Manufacturers’ Group (SMG)
A group dedicated to promoting and supporting Somerset’s diverse manufacturing sector is calling on the county’s decision-makers to join and have their say on its future.
Yeovil Chamber Manufacturing Hub (M-Hub)
Run by, and for, manufacturing and engineering businesses across Yeovil and South Somerset. This network of manufacturing and engineering businesses; share best practice, facilitate shared learnings, and create supply-chain and business support opportunities for all participants.
Somerset has a thriving tourism industry. We are committed to improving the tourism sector including hospitality, tourism, retail, attractions, activity providers, museums, entertainment, and arts in the region and increasing visitor figures to the area.
The Destination Management Organisations below provide advice and support for tourism businesses
Visit Somerset represents our £1.3bn visitor economy, maximising the county’s profile and supporting businesses in the sector through marketing and consultancy.
Supports and promotes tourism across the Greater Exmoor area which includes Exmoor National Park, West Somerset, and the Quantock Hills.
Welcomes existing tourism businesses plus anyone thinking of starting a tourism business in South Somerset.