Welcome to World Class Worcestershire – From the perspective of Barbara Hankins, Catalyst for Change

“Worcestershire has a track record of global innovation across its key sectors and others.  It is also the home of: Edward Elgar, Democracy, Lea & Perrins Sauce, Morgan cars, University, Safest City in England and the first hydro-electric generator to name but a few.

“Worcestershire is a ‘green and nice place to live’, it is also creative, provides a world of opportunity, and is a great place to work.  It is well connected with access to the Black Country, Birmingham, Coventry & Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Wales all on its doorstep.

“The River Teme which rises in Wales ends its journey by joining with the largest river in the UK, the River Severn.  The Staffordshire & Worcestershire and Worcester & Birmingham canals provide fun days out for boaters, anglers, walkers, cyclists and people looking for fresh air and beautiful countryside.  We also have lovely walks along the Worcestershire Way and opportunities to explore the Abberley & Malvern Hills Geopark and celebrate our geological heritage.  The RHS Malvern Show is second only to the infamous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, held at the 3 Counties Showground in the shadow of the famous Malvern Hills – an area of outstanding natural beauty.

“Worcestershire business is mostly made up of SME’s with some larger entities being attracted by its connectivity and includes names such as Worcester Bosch, Halfords, Sanctuary Group, Npower, Joy Global, Thomas Vale and GKN.  Check out the Worcestershire LEP’s website to see what some CEO’s have to say about why this is the ideal location for their business.

“The West Midlands Report 2015 points out that 400 businesses are involved in low carbon and environmental goods and services sector, whilst 14% of Worcestershire’s working population is employed in the manufacturing sector, including a strong automotive supply chain linked to JLR in nearby Coventry and other 1st tier car manufacturers.  It is also strong in carpet weaving, needles and textiles.  In 2015 a total of 15 businesses were in the UK’s Top 200 generating turnover of some £11.5bn for the county.

“Worcestershire is also home to an internationally recognised technology cluster, with world class software, internet and cyber security, electronic and agri-tech companies pioneering new products and services including QinetiQ, Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems and Deep-Secure amongst others at the state of the art premises at Malvern Hills Science Park.

“In the north of the county, the Wyre Forest area has strategically sought to promote an ‘open for business’ culture to help new businesses to start-up successfully and to nurture existing businesses within the district, to support them to achieve sustainable business growth.

Predominantly a ‘small business economy’ it has 88.6% of firms employing up to 9 workers and has an improving record on enterprise and business start-ups with just over 78 new business registrations per 10k working age population compared with 72 across the West Midlands.  Three major activities will help deliver its enterprising strategy; providing flexible business accommodation, providing business support, mentoring and targeted financial assistance and ensuring Wyre Forest is investment ready.  Its track record in attracting such investment so far includes Amtek, Amada UK, Beakbane, NTM-GB and Specsavers. See what companies have to say about investing in this area.”

“Worcestershire businesses are served by an active world class professional services sector which delivers a comprehensive range of business support needs, without the expense and inconvenience of going to Birmingham or London.  It is supported by the County Council and the LEP and is designed to promote business in Worcestershire.”

This article includes Outputs from the 2016 Worcestershire LEP Business Plan Workshop.

(Article written by Barbara Hankins, Founder of Catalyst for Change)

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