We will keep doing what has brought us so much success – supporting business for the future – that was the message from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership at its annual general meeting.
Board members, staff, partners and members of the public gathered at the University of Surrey 5G Innovation Centre to discuss the highlights of the last year and look ahead to the ambitions for the next.
Geoff French, Chairman of the Enterprise M3 LEP, opened the meeting by saying that, in the wake of Thursday’s vote to leave the EU, the LEP must continue to do business as usual.
“We must carry on doing what we have been doing because it has been very successful,” he said. "We need to keep going as at present and only change direction when there is a clear indication that such a change is required.
“We have an economy that is performing strongly here and our area is one of the main net contributors to the Exchequer, so right now we need to continue supporting business in order to keep the economy strong and growing."
During the meeting, held on Monday 27 June, LEP representatives described in detail what the organisation had achieved over the last 12 months.
Kathy Slack, Executive Director of Enterprise M3, pointed to the huge success of the LEP’s Growth Hub, a mechanism to offer guidance and support to high-growth businesses.
Progress has also been made towards setting up Enterprise Zones, with the first to be opened in April 2017.
There’s plenty to be proud of in the area, with business birth and survival rates in the M3 region above the national average and employment in the area at 79.8%.
The area has also faced challenges, with devolution becoming a very important issue over the last few months of the year. She said Enterprise M3 has been working hard behind the scenes and will continue to be part of the debate as it moves forward.
She also echoed the view that the best course of action was to carry on helping businesses grow.
“We need to continue supporting our companies as much as possible at the current time,” she said.
“We have to look at our strategy, our funding and our delivery of projects but we must also show a huge amount of leadership.”
Quickfire presentations were given on the Enterprise M3’s main priorities, including Enterprise and Innovation, the Talent Landscape, Transport and Connectivity, Accelerating Housing Delivery, The Rural Economy and the Joint Leaders’ Board.
To see all the Enterprise M3 LEP’s successes over the last year and its plans for the future take a look at the 2015/2016 Annual Report on www.enterprisem3.org.uk. To view the presentations from the day, please click here.