The Government Minister for Small Business, Margot James MP, visited Worcestershire on 13 January 2017 to hear about the work of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and to meet some of the County’s most successful businesses.
During her visit to the Malvern Hills Science Park, Margot met with several Worcestershire-based businesses as well as representatives from the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Federation of Small Businesses and the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.
The Minister was briefed on the growth in the County’s economy as well as the challenges for its businesses in a post-Brexit world. The roundtable discussion also gave SMEs a chance to discuss their expectations from the emerging Industrial Strategy as well as the recent proposal for a Smart Sensors Catapult in Worcestershire and the opportunities that it will create. In addition, the Minister heard about exciting plans to support the growth of the Cyber Security sector, with Worcestershire working with neighbouring areas in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
After meeting with businesses, the Minister visited Malvern-based company Optimec, a world-leader in the provision of inspection and measurement instruments for the contact lens industry, and heard how investment from the Local Enterprise Partnership had enabled the business to purchase the latest machinery which created new jobs and strengthened their competitive advantage in the international market.
Margot James MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, commented: “I was delighted to be able to meet with the Worcestershire LEP and local businesses to discuss their successes and ambitions for future growth in the County.
“It was great to see how Worcestershire’s high quality business environment has enabled local companies to invest and create new skilled jobs. I was very impressed with both the facilities at Malvern Hills Science Park and the ambition of the Local Enterprise Partnership, particularly in the field of Smart Sensors and Cyber Security.”
Mark Stansfeld, Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “It was great to be able to show Margot James MP the fantastic progress that we are making in the County in terms of the success of our local SMEs and the investments that we are making to create even more jobs for our highly-skilled workforce. In recent years, Worcestershire has achieved the strongest growth in higher level workforce skills, the second highest growth in productivity and the third highest growth in prosperity of all LEP areas and we are working to continue this success.
“Worcestershire’s SMEs play a hugely important role in driving the County’s development towards being a connected, creative and dynamic economy and I am pleased that we were able to highlight the strength of our cyber sector in particular.”