Coventry and Warwickshire’s potential is outweighing its current performance, a major conference has heard.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its 13th annual economic conference at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry and more than 300 business people, politicians and local schools and colleges heard from a range of speakers.
Selim Ozturk, of sponsor Turkish Airlines, outlined his company’s involvement in the region before Nick Parsons, of Yorkshire Bank, gave an economic outlook for the region, the UK and the globe.
John Timpson, of national high-street chain Timpson, gave an entertaining overview of his outlook on business and his role in the company.
Catherine Mallyon, of the RSC; Paul Swinney, of Centre for Cities; and Ian Harrabin, of CDP, took part in a panel debate around the future of city and town centres, while Robert Gerrard, of Safetyflex, and Cameron Tonkin, of Rhead Group, highlighted how their firms are working on the world stage.
But it was Coventry and Warwickshire LEP chair Jonathan Browning and Chamber president Peter Burns who delivered the verdict that the future for the region was extremely positive – but needed the right choices to be made today to foster economic growth across the city and the county.
Browning said: “I am convinced that Coventry and Warwickshire is a great place to do business. We have some great assets but we are not yet making the most of them.
“The LEP, with our partners, are moving forward to develop strong, differentiated plans for the area and at the same time we are taking immediate, practical actions to support local businesses to drive growth and create jobs.
“I recognise and celebrate the many success stories we have locally but we cannot be complacent about the need to collectively perform to an even higher level. I know that, with the right co-operation, determination and vision, we really can create something very special here in Coventry and Warwickshire.”
Burns, who closed the conference, said the potential was there for the city and the county to prosper.
He said: “I say potentially because in business, as in life generally, nothing can be taken for granted. It is only through the hard work, the innovation and the dedication of businesses like all of those present today that this region can be a success and fulfil its potential.
“We do have so much going for us here but we are in a global race for investment and jobs and it is only through making sure we are the best possible place we can be to live, work and play that we will attract the best companies and people.
“To get where we want to be, we need to ensure that there is space for existing companies to grow and for firms new to the region to move into. We need to build more homes too and enhance our leisure offer so that those people who work here, spend their hard-earned pound here.
“That will help to create the jobs for our young people across the city and the county – which is fundamental for our future.
“It will mean some brave and bold decisions but if we truly want to prosper in Coventry and Warwickshire then it’s vital that we make the right choices today for the good of the future of this wonderful region.”
CAPTION: Jonathan Browning speaking at the Chamber conference