The date of 18th April 2013 will forever be a red letter day for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the UK, as they very much came of age, writes Keene Associate Andrew Cumpsty.
The Annual Conference of the LEP Network took place at One Great George Street, at the heart of Westminster and it was apparent at many levels that LEPs are now really motoring.
Previous LEP Network meetings have been less confident with fewer people still finding their feet, working out where the LEP initiative was going. At previous events, attendance was light and a clear pathway forward was still being forged.
But in 2013, it was standing room only in the Conference Hall and full support from Government, with no less than two Secretarys of State and a Minister of State speaking at the Conference. But the deal was sealed by a stirring speech by the grandaddy of growth, Lord Heseltine. At 80, the author of “No stone unturned: in pursuit of growth“, Lord Heseltine wowed the audience, challenging them to move up a gear and throwing down the gauntlet to British business leaders, asking them pointedly, “Are you up to it”?
He roused the LEP audience by highlighting this as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Get it right and a rare prize was on offer, but get it wrong and business will miss this amazing chance to reshape the British economy.
No one left the event in any doubt of the challenge that had been placed before them. The question that must now be answered is if British business has the leadership to deliver.
He was formerly Head of Policy at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). With degrees in history and economics from the Universities of Oxford and London, Jake is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a trustee of the European Association of Philanthropy and Giving and advises several governments on public policy. He also advises clients on CSR and philanthropy activities.
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