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Richard Hindle became a director of social and economic development consultancy SQW in 1995. Richard's expertise in economic development, as a practitioner, designer and evaluator, includes market feasibility studies, project appraisals and plans, programme evaluations and organisation reviews. He focuses on business development/innovation and all aspects of area competitiveness, working for local authorities and partnerships, government and non-governmental organisations, in the UK and beyond.

Whilst SQW has been an IED corporate member for four years, Richard previously joined as an individual member. “I was originally attracted by the IED’s local profile, especially through events and networking opportunities here in Manchester,” he said. “The platform to network with other economic development providers has always been important to me, and to SQW as a consultancy looking for business, so membership is useful for both exchange and positioning. SQW decided to take out corporate membership as a number of our staff had individual memberships, and this worked out better financially and in terms of the benefits.”

Recent projects led by Richard at SQW include work to support the business case for infrastructure investment under the 'One North' initiative and in South Wales; the development of an evaluation framework based on case studies for BEIS's pilot University Enterprise Zones, and a new business performance framework for Visit England; evaluation of Invest Northern Ireland's business interventions for Sustainable Productivity; a 'light touch' review of commercialisation activity for the University of York. “We’ve supported the annual conference over the years and this has been a useful opportunity to meet new people, promote what we do to the people we need to reach, and at the same time hear from some quality speakers,” Richard said. “It’s important to be part of the IED – economic development is what we do, and the overall positioning we gain is most valuable.”

Richard added that the IED is well placed to guide its members through macro and micro challenges. “There are huge uncertainties on devolution and structures post-Brexit which raise questions for all IED members, but at SQW we definitely have scope for more growth as an organisation and the materials and opportunities provided by the IED can only support that.”