(L - R): Lucy Nickson, chair of the South Yorkshire LEP Board, Andy Haldane, head of the Government’s Taskforce for Levelling Up, and Dan Jarvis, South Yorkshire mayor.
Matthew Neville

South Yorkshire economic summit highlights region’s “fantastic industrial heritage”

Growth and economic renewal were the two key themes for the first South Yorkshire Economic Summit held in Sheffield last week, which was attended by over 160 business leaders, academics, and innovators.

Keynote speakers were Andy Haldane, head of the Government’s Levelling Up Taskforce, South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis MP MBE, and Lucy Nickson, chair of the South Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The landmark summit explored the potential and opportunities for South Yorkshire and how focus needs to be on building a skills and talent system that underpins economic transformation, alongside the introduction of a new finance system that unlocks institutional, commercial, equity, and community development finance in South Yorkshire.

Andy Haldane, the head of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Taskforce, said: “This region is built on a fantastic industrial heritage and has great theatres, universities, wonderful countryside and strong connectivity.

“There are clusters of innovation and activity, but still the region is falling behind - South Yorkshire has a lower number of SME businesses than comparable regions in the north.

“The challenge is therefore to encourage more new business start-ups across the region and to break down the barriers to finance, to enable established businesses to grow and move to the next level.”

South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis added: “The region is working well together, with strong collaborations between the private sector and the universities on some ground-breaking projects in energy, decarbonisation and digital.

“When businesses, innovators and academics collaborate like this, great things happen. South Yorkshire is the heartland of innovation and we have an amazing story to tell: one rooted in our proud heritage, with optimism and ambition for our future.”

He also officially announced details of the South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre, which will bring together researchers, businesses and organisations across the region to co-design solutions to regional and global sustainability challenges and work towards net zero emissions by 2050.

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