Opportunities to bring jobs and growth to Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire – including the new Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone – are being promoted to business investors and developers at a major international event in France in March.
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership will be flying the flag for the region on the global stage at the MIPIM conference and exhibition in Cannes from March 15 to 18.
MIPIM is Europe’s largest exhibition and conference for property professionals and provides a marketplace for UK and international investors to meet, discuss projects and opportunities and do business. The MIPIM event attracts property investors from around the world and is attended by councils, inward investment bodies and LEPs in order to attract investment.
The LEP team aims to raise Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s profile and promote the area’s off-the-peg industrial and commercial sites and development opportunities, and the skilled workforce available. The LEP will be exhibiting at MIPIM under the Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire banner, the inward investment partnership funded by Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Experts from the Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire inward investment team will be attending MIPIM, along with Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader Councillor Abi Brown, and Councillor Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for the economy.
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire team will also be playing a full part in wider regional initiatives being showcased at MIPIM. The LEP will be promoting the Midlands as a place to do business, as part of the Midlands Engine grouping of LEPS and local authorities. It will also be promoting Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s pivotal location linking the Midlands Engine with the Northern Powerhouse, as part of the Northern Gateway Development Zone. This new grouping has brought together seven local authorities, Cheshire and Warrington LEP and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP to coordinate development plans and capitalise on the construction of HS2.
LEP chairman David Frost said MIPIM was a key international showcase for the region – and was particularly important this year, as there were a number of new development opportunities that the LEP was promoting.
“It is very important that we keep a continuing flow of new investment into Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire by promoting growth opportunities to a national and international audience,” Mr Frost said.
“We face a great deal of competition for investment from other localities across the country, and internationally as well, so I do believe very strongly that it is vital to attend events like this.
“We have got to keep banging the drum for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire as a great area to invest and do business, so that we can create more and better jobs for local people. And we have a very impressive case to make to international investors.”
Councillor Abi Brown commented: “Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire represent a superb investment opportunity. The city region is now one of the fastest growing economies in the UK.
“We have a winning combination of still affordable land, a growing manufacturing sector, strongly emerging new technology and services, a knowledge economy fuelled by our universities and an emerging geothermal energy centre, all bubbling up from a superb position at the heart of the UK transport network midway between the Midlands Engine and the Northern Powerhouse.
“What’s more Stoke-on-Trent is a city with a fascinating and unique lifestyle offer and is superbly positioned to access all areas of the UK. Get on board now as we are picking up speed fast.”
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Economy, Environment and Transport, said: “Staffordshire has demonstrated time and again that it can deliver major new sites for international companies, as well as the communications and transport infrastructure necessary for businesses of all sizes to thrive and prosper in the heart of the UK.
“We are also working closely with leaders of industry, commerce and education to ensure the skills and qualifications of our workforce matches the needs of our growing economy.”
The LEP’s aims include building on the region’s established place in the energy generation and advanced manufacturing sectors, attracting investors to support the continued growth of these industries.
Key development sites include the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, focused on accelerating investment in seven sites in the strategic A500 corridor in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme, plus Branston Locks, in east Staffordshire, ROF Featherstone, in south Staffordshire, and Liberty Park, Lichfield.
Pictured is the planned Sovereign Park development on the site of the former Royal Ordnance factory, Featherstone.