For­get pol­i­tics, it’s down to us all to build a North­ern Pow­er­house

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS -

Jonathan Ox­ley, North­ern Pow­er­house am­bas­sador, In­sti­tute of Di­rec­tors in York­shire and the Hum­ber. 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.

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