The four Chambers of Commerce in the Sheffield City Region have reacted positively to the news that Sir Nigel Knowles has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership. The leading business organisations, which represent 7,000 businesses collectively employing 470,000 people have also pledged their firm commitment to working with Sir Nigel and the LEP to build a more prosperous and profitable City Region for the benefit of the region’s businesses and communities.
Commenting on Sir Nigel’s appointment Andrew McKenna, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region Chambers Group, said:
“Sir Nigel is an excellent candidate for the post and I would like to offer him the Chambers’ sincere congratulations on the appointment. Sir Nigel has a background and CV that will excite the region’s private sector and convince the local business community that the LEP, increasingly, will have the wherewithal to produce a significant step change in the region’s economic performance. Additionally, Sir Nigel’s impressive track record demonstrates that he will have the ability to further improve partnerships between the public and private sector in the City Region whilst, simultaneously, making potentially tough decisions that are based on economic fact rather than political expediency.
“As Chambers we are absolutely committed to working hand in glove with the Local Enterprise Partnership to grow our region’s economy. We will do this by delivering high quality services for businesses – particularly in relation to international trade, enterprise and business growth – and also by being a critical friend to the LEP. Chambers interface with local businesses 24/7 and are ideally placed to play back to the LEP the issues, challenges and opportunities that are concerning the region’s private sector.
“With that in mind, we would encourage Sir Nigel and colleagues to build on the Devolution Deal recently done with Government to ensure that the City Region becomes a bona fide contributor to the Northern Powerhouse and that it delivers on its economic potential. As Chambers we would – on behalf of the local business community – have four immediate priorities for the incoming LEP Chair:
Work with partners to develop an end-to-end skills systems that works for employers
Deliver a transport and digital infrastructure that facilitates and supports more trading opportunities locally, nationally and internationally
Ensure that the LEP – through the nascent Growth Hub – delivers on its promise to have ‘world class business support’ in the region
Encourage significant new inward investors to the area from high value-adding sectors
“Finally, the Chambers would also like to thank James Newman for his gargantuan contribution to the region and the LEP over the last five years.”