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2020 - the climate for innovation

6 January 2020

The start of a new decade invariably affords us time for both reflection and prediction. The events of 2019 are too many to summarise in a short blog. Instead, I look ahead to a period likely to be recorded in the history books as one of rapid change.

The recent headlines are dominated by climate change and impact on our environment. And, as we forge our new future, the UK needs to assert itself as a leading global innovation economy. To facilitate this, we face myriad and complex challenges. This includes enhancing business competitiveness and developing the work skills required to guarantee both current and future economic success.

Now, more than ever, businesses, government and educators must work closely together to respond to these challenges.

The South East Midlands - the central part of the Government’s flagship ‘Oxford-Cambridge Arc’ initiative - has an enviable track record in generating ideas, innovation, testing and commercialisation. This globally recognised niche is derived from involvement in the development of a huge wave of new technologies from future mobility to clean (green) growth.

We have a fast-growing population, a skilled and expanding workforce, and levels of entrepreneurialism and business growth among the highest in the UK. This is robust evidence to show that if there’s an area in the country ready and able to respond to these economic challenges, it is the South East Midlands.

For SEMLEP, 2019 was a year focused on putting in place the long-term framework for the progressive, innovation-led growth we want for our area. We therefore start 2020 with a clear vision and plenty of cause for optimism for the future of the South East Midlands’ business community.

  1. The South East Midlands will be the place of high technology excellence: where business connects ideas, expertise and capabilities in sectors that continue to push technological boundaries.
  2. We will strengthen our reputation as a place where people want to come to learn, innovate and succeed by investing in high-quality, well-connected business and learning spaces.
  3. Working towards net zero carbon, we will be at the forefront of pursuing productivity gains and sustainability in tandem. We will achieve this by continuing to invest in green excellence and by championing best practice from exemplar developments already at the cutting edge of clean technology and high-quality design.

Among the challenges that changes to the global economy and EU exit will undoubtedly bring, there’s lots to look forward to. As your Local Enterprise Partnership, we are here to keep our eyes firmly focused on supporting the local economy and business growth. Through strong partnership, we can help businesses to embrace change and opportunity.

As the SEMLEP team returns afresh for the New Year, we bring with us a sharp focus on helping the area to achieve the economic vision our area’s councils, businesses and educators want to achieve. Our aspiration is not only to position the area ready to respond to change. Our ambition is that we drive that change and set the pace through deploying our resident expertise.

Happy New Year!

Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive

SEMLEP ended 2019 with our AGM and event ‘From green ideas to clean growth’. At this event businesses, councils and residents came together to talk about the South East Midland’s growth ambitions and share further ideas about how we will achieve it, together.

Watch the highlights video from SEMLEP’s AGM below.

[Turn on your volume to listen to the sound - this video also includes subtitles]

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