Forget politics, it’s down to us all to build a Northern Powerhouse
IT WILL not have escaped anyone’s attention that fierce debate has been raging around the Northern Powerhouse and Yorkshire regional devolution agendas in recent weeks.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) is an established supporter of rebalancing our economy, believing it is essential to develop the North as a counterweight to and to complement the success of London and the South-East.
A lot of the headlines revolve around politics, big infrastructure projects, regional rivalries and, sometimes, co-operation.
Many individuals and businesses are frustrated by their apparent inability to do much to influence or progress the big issues.
To the extent that they can’t change these things they should, in my opinion, stop worrying about them and focus instead on what they can do and are in many cases already doing.
I am not a fan of inspirational aphorisms, but I will make an exception in this case: the longest journey starts with a single step.
Or, put another way in this context, the success of our region, given the high preponderance of SME businesses, will be built on each of them doing their own thing to build their own part of a Northern Powerhouse.
So, if you train or mentor young people in the region, start and scale a business in the region, develop innovative products and/ or services in the region, or have a supply chain in the region, you are doing your bit for an important cause. The future prosperity of our region (and that effectively means the quality of life of our children) depends to a significant extent on successful rebalancing of the economy.
It is important that we take that first step because, over time, everything we do successfully in the region begins to grow, network and spread the benefits.
The Yorkshire For example, Post
has a partnership with Leeds Beckett University, within the Leeds Digital Hub, aimed at boosting enterprise and helping small firms take the first steps towards greatness.
The IoD has a ‘99 Club’, active in our region and nationally, which for an initial annual fee of £99 gives founders and entrepreneurs access to resources and support.
The IoD in our region partners with Leeds Beckett University in a number of areas including sharing a physical space in Leeds and delivering director development training. My law firm, Lupton Fawcett, works with Leeds Beckett to support young businesses being nurtured by the university.
We therefore have a major news organisation, a university, the regional arm of a national business organisation and a regional professional services firm all working together to help create and support businesses which will become part of the Northern Powerhouse.
The sum of the individual efforts, when combined, is greater than the single values of the respective parts.
It is easy to be frustrated and disillusioned by the politics around devolution. My message is simple. Let’s work together and get on with it.
Jonathan Oxley, Northern Powerhouse ambassador, Institute of Directors in Yorkshire and the Humber.