The outstanding package of investment opportunities offered across Cheshire West and Chester is again to be showcased at the world’s largest property and investment fair.
The influential Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is to have a stand at next month’s four day MIPIM event held annually in Cannes, France and now in its 29th year.
Last year MIPIM attracted more than 24,000 delegates from over 100 countries including property professionals, developers, investors, governments, regions, cities and local authorities.
The LEP says it will be leading a strong Cheshire and Warrington delegation made up of representatives from Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East and Warrington councils, landowners and developers.
Supported by Marketing Cheshire they will be promoting the sub-region ‘as a great place to invest and do business’ to potential investors and key influencers.
At a warm up MIPIM 2018 business event hosted by Chester professional services specialists Knights 1759, Philip Cox, chief executive of the LEP, said Cheshire’s continuing ‘outstanding’ growth and assets form a ‘compelling pitch’ in the global market place.
He argued: “Cheshire is a rapidly developing economic success story and we are consistently punch above our weight.
“We are returning to MIPIM because we want the international investor community to grasp the opportunities available in our outstanding economy which will help us achieve our objective of growing our economy to £50bn per year by 2040.
“In the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics Cheshire and Warrington was shown as growing by 6.1% during 2016 and about to break the £30bn per annum barrier.
“They also showed that our output per head is more than 20% higher than the UK average and is still the second highest of any sub-region outside of London.
“At this rate of progress we could overtake Liverpool and Lancashire to become the second largest economy in the north west and third biggest sub-regional economy in the north as early as this year despite having a population 60% smaller than in those areas.”
Aspects to be highlighted will include the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone, an investment opportunity covering 100 hectares with the potential to attract up to 20,000 jobs and 500 businesses and the Chester and Mersey Dee economic area including the revival of Chester city centre and the £300m Chester Northgate project.
The science corridor includes hi tech opportunities such as the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park and Peel’s Protos energy and innovation development nearby.
Mr Cox added: “We have an outstanding economy, with an outstanding skilled and talented workforce and an outstanding quality of life.
“It is imperative that the public and private sectors stand shoulder to shoulder in ensuring these investment missions are a continuing success.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our business community not only to drive their own business forward but to be part of our drive to build our economy and a sustainable future.”
David Beech, chief executive at Knights, said: “Attending MIPIM is about expanding business networks and showing that our county, with all it has to offer, is open to business and is a compelling destination.”
He suggested: “The message is clear: be part of Team Cheshire and Warrington.”
Colin Brew, chief executive officer at the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, says he wishes the LEP ‘every success’ in its continued engagement at the exhibition.
“West Cheshire is a great place to live and work with strong links to North Wales, Liverpool and Manchester. This and the fact that Cheshire and Warrington has the second highest income per head in England outside London makes the region highly attractive to potential investors,” he argues.
Last year more than 20 organisations joined the Cheshire and Warrington delegation to promote their enterprises and to seek international partnerships.
Mr Cox believes the LEP’s first appearance at the fair had an immediate impact with incoming investment enquiries.
“Taking a stand at the festival allowed us to whet global investor interest with the initial concepts and opportunity presented by our region.
“Within days of our return we and partners were picking up substantive enquiries from individuals and organisations wanting to know more,” he explained.
With the LEP offering backing of up to £80,000 towards the initiative, a source said: “Our competitor regions both in the UK and overseas all have strong presences at MIPIM and we need to ensure that Cheshire and Warrington is presenting itself on this stage and is seen to be ‘open for business’.”