Theresa May has launched an industrial strategy designed to boost the post-Brexit economy of the UK. The aim is to “help us create a high-skilled economy where every place can meet its potential” and focuses particularly on initiatives in the north of England.
What the industrial strategy includes:
- A £4.7 billion fund to pay for research and development into artificial intelligence, 5G mobile technology, robotics and smart energy
- A £556 million boost for the Northern Powerhouse
- A focus on infrastructure, affordable energy, and developing skills
- Ideas to strengthen growth in all regions of the country
- Focus on improving trade, inward investment and government procurement
- £170m to be invested in creating new institutes of technology, and other initiatives aimed at boosting STEM skills
But what do entrepreneurs in the areas that need the most investment think about the strategy?
Seb Francis, Titus Learning
Seb Francis, Titus Learning - Virgin StartUp
"We're very happy to hear Theresa May's recently announced plans to invest further in the North of England,” says Seb. “We are however hesitant to celebrate too soon based on previous announcements regarding the 'Northern Powerhouse'. As before, there is a clear skew towards the North West in comparison to Leeds/Bradford, and it does beg the question why more funding has been allocated there when you look at the population. On a not-so-negative note, anything that can increase the overall business being done within a closer reach of our doorstep can only be seen as a good thing. We will have more inward investment, better access to skilled workers, and a stronger business network to access. I'm keen to see how the plans develop, and fingers crossed there will be a focus on SMEs as well as the larger manufacturing outfits."
Dr Craig Rose, Seaweed & Co
“At Seaweed & Co., we are excited and encouraged to see the new industrial strategy announced by the Prime Minister yesterday. With research and development (R&D) and export developments highlighted, we hope the new strategy will further support our heavy investment in R&D, and our aggressive expansion into export markets.
Having started our innovation in 2015, with the help of a Virgin StartUp loan, we have continued to re-invest in R&D so that we lead the market, working with British Universities, and have developed highly desirable seaweed ingredients for use globally into the food, health and nutrition markets.
We hope to see infrastructure investment as, whilst the North East of England has good transport links with an excellent airport, and is well-placed for train travel, improvements to make it quicker, and certainly more cost-effective for small and growing businesses is essential if a Northern Powerhouse is to be viable. With our distribution network encompassing the UK, all mainland Europe, USA, Korea and the Middle East, having better and more affordable connectivity could certainly enable us to grow even faster. “
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