Businesses of all sizes across Cheshire and Warrington were urged to “have the confidence to deliver a growing, sustainable, healthy and inclusive economy”.
More than 100 businesses and organisations heard from Clare Hayward MBE, chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership during the opening of its economic conference at Jodrell Bank on Wednesday.
The LEP reported on another year of success stories and growth for the region including:
- Expanding and relaunching the globally renowned Cheshire Science Corridor which this year welcomed the likes of Chester Zoo and the University of Liverpool as members and is now home to over 7,000 businesses and world class science and technology assets ranging from Alderley Park, the UK’s largest single life sciences campus to Origin in Ellesmere Port, where the ambition is to create the World’s first Net Zero industrial cluster.
- The expansion builds on over £150 million that has already been invested in the corridor, delivering 1m sq. ft of new commercial floorspace,151 new businesses and nearly 5,000 new jobs to the sub-region.
The LEP’s Growth Hub continued to support businesses with everything from start-up information and finance options to available premises which saw 18 firms investing in the region – creating around 600 new jobs.
- Investing millions to help projects get off the ground including contributing £5m to the £20m Life Sciences Fund to support early-stage life sciences and animal health businesses.
- Secured £20m via the European Regional Development Fund, which is being invested this year into projects ranging from energy efficient property developments to business support and research and development.
Claire Hayward said: “During the last 12 months we have invested millions to get vital and transformational projects off the ground, help create hundreds of jobs, upskill employees and learners and ensure we continue to attract the world’s best to this wonderful region.
“Businesses ranging from family-run cheese makers to world class science and technology assets on the Cheshire Science Corridor are true trailblazers.”
Other LEP highlights in the last 12 months included celebrating heroes working in the region’s visitor economy at the annual Marketing Cheshire Tourism Awards, expanding the LEP-led online Cheshire and Warrington Opportunities jobs portal that updates thousands of jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities every 30 minutes and working with its local authority colleagues to develop a fair employment charter for the sub-region.
There was also a glowing endorsement for The Pledge Partnership and Cheshire and Warrington Careers Hub – which connects all 86 schools and colleges in the region with 550 businesses.
Its work was described as “exceptional” by Oli de Botton, CEO of The Careers and Enterprise Company after The Pledge’s annual conference heard 25,000 young people in Cheshire and Warrington a year were benefitting from the network – snapping up exciting jobs locally and raised careers education standards across the region.
The event included panel sessions with representatives from a range of companies from small to large to discuss how and why they are working towards making their businesses net zero and or improving health and inclusivity as a means of growing their businesses, the challenges they face and how they are overcoming them.
The conference also included talks from:
- Lorna Harper from Jodrell Bank about its success as a visitor attraction and how for over 75 years, it has been at the forefront of the quest for understanding and at the heart of groundbreaking discoveries and world-leading research.
- Innovate UK Edge and how they support business to accelerate growth and access resources to deliver, from Intellectual Property expertise to investor networks and international partnerships.