The step-change in Enterprise M3 over the past decade has been incredible. It has grown in maturity to become a collaborative and diverse partnership with a proactive vision for how the local economy can recover and grow.
The LEP now has a strong pipeline of capital projects, with an emphasis on digital and clean growth technologies, which our research has shown are going to be key drivers of our economic growth for the future.
And although the current focus has to be on recovery and renewal as businesses need certainty in order to progress, digital and clean growth are going to remain long-term trends, continuing to need the support and investment which EM3 can provide.
I am proud of where the LEP is now; we have a better ethos, and much more partnership, diversity and collaboration across business, education , local authorities and government through Department for Business Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS) and other departments.
There is a stronger focus on innovation, enterprise, investment and international trade in the LEP, as well as well structured governance and a great team, led by Kathy Slack. This is emphasised by how much work we have initiated over the past decade that is now delivering results.
Our Enterprise Zones have stepped up and are showing signs of a return on investment and our relationship with DIT has delivered the status of High Potential Opportunity areas for both EM3’s Animal MedTech and Gaming industries, as well as recognition of its space and satellite cluster. Our Innovation South initiative which identified assets across the South of England helped lay the foundations of our partnerships with neighbouring LEPs, has now led to Catalyst South – a strategic alliance of six LEPs, collaborating across boundaries and supporting issues of common importance to business stimulating growth and recovery.
I will miss the people and the rhythm, as well as the connection to the area; so much of my career focused on national and international issues, I benefited from seeing the impact of decisions though a local lens, which enabled a focus on real needs and real issues.
However, Enterprise M3 is an organisation dedicated to innovation both in its own development and in the wider business community. It is time for fresh ideas, and I look forward to seeing the impact it will make in growing our economy over the next decade.
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