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SEMLEP hosts event for Small Business Minister

11 November 2015

Business Minister Anna Soubry at Niftylift

The Minister for Small Business visited the South East Midlands today to meet resident businesses and to find out first-hand what the opportunities and challenges are for local entrepreneurs.

The ministerial visit, hosted by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), saw Rt Hon Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, visit Niftylift in Milton Keynes, one of the world's leading manufacturers of mobile elevated work platforms.

At Niftylift’s Shenley Wood-based headquarters the Minister met more than 30 local businesses, including Milton Keynes companies supported by SEMLEP’s Velocity Growth Hub and local members of the Women in Enterprise programme.

Welcoming the Minister, SEMLEP’s Chair Dr Ann Limb CBE DL said: “We are delighted to showcase small businesses in Milton Keynes and to introduce the Minister to business owners, including those from the local Women in Enterprise group, who are overcoming the challenges to build and grow their businesses in this thriving area. I would also like to thank Roger Bowden at Niftylift for hosting the event in such an impressive venue.”

Roger Bowden, Chair of Niftylift, and the Leader of Milton Keynes Council, Cllr Pete Marland, also welcomed the Minister to the event.

The Minister took the opportunity to meet and speak to the many local companies invited to the event by SEMLEP, including ones which have been supported by Velocity Growth Hub this year.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “Today has been a great opportunity to meet local business owners and see how Velocity Growth Hub is helping them to expand.

“Milton Keynes is a dynamic and fast growing city. From what I’ve seen today it is clearly full of entrepreneurial spirit and has the potential to continue creating new jobs and driving economic growth throughout the region.”

SEMLEP Acting Chief Executive, Hilary Chipping, added: “We are pleased to have been able to showcase the success of our Velocity growth hub to the minister. We are currently bidding for more funding to enable us to continue and to expand Velocity, which has created 173 jobs and safeguarded a further 400 in the South East Midlands in the last 12 months.”

Talking to the Minister Charlotte Jamme, Mia Tui owner, who received support from Velocity, said: "Milton Keynes is a fantastic place to do business, with a really vibrant community. There's a feel-good factor about the place and we have been helped along the way by Velocity who have always been there to give their support. There's a sense of momentum building in Milton Keynes right now and the business community is thriving."

Roger Bowden, Chair of Niftylift , added: “We are very pleased to host this SEMLEP event and honoured to welcome the Rt Hon Anna Soubry and our other distinguished guests to our new headquarters here in Milton Keynes. SEMLEP and Velocity do sterling work in the support and development of local businesses and it’s gratifying to be able to open our doors to them and share this opportunity to discuss the challenges we all face in today’s competitive business climate.”

In the Centre for Cities 2015 report Milton Keynes was, for the sixth year running, unveiled as the country’s top city for job growth, with 24,000 new jobs created in the city between 2004 and 2013.

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