Rallying call from new LEP chairman kjdg

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The chairman of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has called on the region’s 22 councils to devise a co-ordinated campaign to attract more visitors and help boost the economy.

Barry Dodd OBE, who is the chief executive of Wetherby company the GSM group, made the comments following an LEP summit in Harrogate which aimed to outline how businesses could work together and with the LEP to make the most of opportunities for economic growth in the region.

He wants to build on the success of Welcome to Yorkshire, the region’s tourism body, which earlier this month was presented with a World Travel Award for the second year running, at a ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha.

He said he wanted to call a “high level meeting” of chief executives from all of Yorkshire’s councils to discuss tourism.

More than 40 business organisations representing over 25,000 businesses across York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding attended the event, called Business Networks Meet the LEP, at Pavilions of Harrogate last Friday.

Addressing guests, he said: “We desperately need to stimulate economic growth to counter the ongoing economic slump, and yet financial support for such activity is at an all time low. The summit is about galvanising the existing business networks we have to bolster local businesses and start-ups.”

LEPs are business-led public/private partnership focused on inspiring economic growth by helping businesses start up, grow and become more competitive.

Three LEPs have been established in Yorkshire by leaders of the public and private sectors to devise strategies to help economic growth following the announcement that the regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, is being axed as part of the coalition Government’s spending cuts.

LEPS are also being introduced in other parts of Britain.

The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP committed to support the organisations attending last week’s summit, and to use them to get a clearer understanding of the needs of their business communities. The organisations were invited to identify key barriers to growth and suggest solutions they would like the LEP to help realise.

Award-winning author and behavioural consultant Mark Earls gave top insights at the summit into how human behaviour links to enterprise and the economy.

Mr Dodd added: “This is just the start; over the coming months the discussion will open up through the business networks and social media channels. We aim to gather the views of businesses and entrepreneurs and identify areas that offer solutions for growth. In an age when funding is thin on the ground, the emphasis will very much be on developing sustainable business models that make the most of the resources that are available, and one thing that is not lacking is good Yorkshire nous.”

Businesses with their own growth plans are being encouraged by the LEP to visit their new online resource that pulls together the variety of help and support that is already available.

The focus of the new website - www.businessinspiredgrowth.com - is ensuring businesses are well aware of the support available to them to make the most of opportunities for growth, as well as keeping them informed about the current economic climate.