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Western Morning News Fast Growth 75 Launch event
- Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to speak to you today.
- It is a great pleasure to be involved in such a positive event, celebrating business growth in the region.
- There are some really excellent and dynamic businesses in the South West, achieving great results in what are still fairly tough times economically.
- Businesses represented here today, and many others in the region, are creating wealth through innovation, talent and sheer determination.
- This outlook reflects Plymouth University’s mission to be the enterprise university, and our ambition to play a key role, in partnership, in driving and delivering regional economic growth.
- And we are a truly world leading university - featuring in the world university rankings in the top 300 in the world and a top 40 research university.
Key message 1: Plymouth University is committed to driving regional growth through enterprise
- At Plymouth University, enterprise is about how we do things, shaping our organisation to be more outward-facing, making it easier for you to work with us and for us to work with you.
- Enterprise is embedded in our culture, encouraging people to work creatively across traditional boundaries to generate new ideas and projects.
- Enterprise is more of a verb than a noun – it’s a doping word: entrepreneurs do! Enterprising folk seek the opportunities nascent in their locality and their community and realise them through action.
- We are deeply committed to working with government, business and industry regionally and nationally to drive economic growth
- The Government’s growth review published earlier this year set out some important and ambitious goals for the UK economy.
- But it failed to recognise the key role universities have to play in realising these ambitions. It was disappointing that Universities got only 14 mentions in the Plan for Growth, compared to fifty five (55) for the NHS. This has got to change.
- At Plymouth University we are bringing together over a a hundred million pounds (£100M) of university-operated physical assets to build a powerful network of support for business growth – The Growth Acceleration and Investment Network, or GAIN.
- GAIN includes our successful pre-incubation units on our campus, Formation Zone and Formation Zone 2.0, and Innovation Centres across the region, from Plymouth to Pool in Cornwall.
- This, combined with our one-stop-shop for business support, Enterprise Solutions, provides access to everything from Angel investment to Knowledge transfer partnerships.
- And together, we are having a demonstrable impact on business growth, job creation and ultimately economic growth.
- Recently, at an event with the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, I launched the Publication “Growing the Future,” examining the vital role universities play in the economy.
- This publication illustrates firsthand, the power of genuine engagement and partnership with universities.
- Case studies include big businesses, small and medium sized enterprises, think tanks, politicians and local authorities. Those with a shared interest in the future success of their regional economy.
- Alan Qualtrough is featured talking about our successful Regional Growth Fund bid.
- Together, they paint a powerful picture of the role universities play towards growing our future – working in partnership with business and the community.
Key message 2: Our Regional Growth Fund project with Western Morning News
- This regional-level work is so important, and our commitment to this as a university was recently reflected in a successful partnership bid with the Western Morning News to lead a Regional Growth Fund project.
- In July the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, personally launched our RGF project, the Plymouth University and Western Morning News Growth Fund.
- Ours was the only successful RGF bid involving a university, and has been attracting a great deal of interest
- Within 5 weeks of the launch we had received one hundred and forty four (144) expressions of interest requesting six point three million pounds (£6.3M) of grant and relating to nearly thirteen million pounds (£13M) of new business development expenditure for everything from new manufacturing equipment to specialist software.
- Competition will therefore be tough for the nine hundred thousand pound (£900,000) total available investment pot, but we expect the fund to deliver great impact in terms of business growth and job creation right across the region.
- We are hoping that with this high level demand for the project, we can work with Government to ensure the fund continues on a more long-term basis, and we welcome your support in taking this forward.
Key message 3: The importance of partnership in regional economic growth
- The project I’ve just described is a powerful example of our work – a university connected with its region working with valued partners to achieve great results.
- As a university we are proud to work at the heart of our community, and we are committed to leading, in partnership, the knowledge economy for our city, region and beyond.
- We value partnership across all our activities, whether that is through our students as volunteers, our community research awards, our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, or acting as the R&D arm for SMEs.
- This is reflected in our new branding, ‘with Plymouth University’ – we want to encourage our students to study WITH Plymouth, not AT Plymouth, and encourage our community to work WITH us too.
- One great example this summer was the City’s successful bid to host the Americas Cup. We worked in close partnership with our City Council to secure this opportunity, and what a fantastic showcase for Plymouth it was!
- The impact of this event I’m sure will be felt for years to come - really putting the city on the map as an exciting place to live, work and visit.
- This type of partnership, I believe, is essential to our future success as a region – and we’d like the Americas Cup back!
We are all very busy, resources are tight and we can help each other out as partners.
- For businesses this could mean working with our academics on developing new products or manufacturing techniques – we do world class research at Plymouth University especially in key areas such as marine, robotics and computing.
- It could also mean taking on students or Graduate Interns – our students have a wealth of new ideas and talents, and can be an asset to any business in a range of ways.
- To conclude, I believe that Universities are anchor institutions in our community - they are centres of learning, knowledge, discovery and creativity - all fundamental to our rich and diverse society.
- We’re connected – we’re catalysts of change – we’re open for business and we’re listening to what you need from us.
- At Plymouth, we are working to drive up economic growth in our region and the greatest success comes through the power of partnership
- I invite you to consider the ways we can work together in the future for mutual benefit, and I look forward to hearing about some new projects
- I would also like to congratulate the Western Morning News on another fantastic event, and of course to all those businesses featured in the Fast Growth 75 supplement – you represent the fastest growing companies in Devon and Cornwall – among them the University of Plymouth Enterprise Ltd and our Tamar Science Park.
- And o thank Foot Anstey for hosting and being a sponsor and to KPMG and Lloyds TSB too for their role as sponsors of this important initiative.
- I look forward to our discussions over breakfast and again, my congratulations to all the winners.
- Thank you