The networking year has officially started. For many, January is a time to set their business goals for the next twelve months.
Tees Valley Business Club’s first event of 2018 at the fantastic Wynyard Hall was the perfect opportunity to feel inspired to set business goals thanks to the guest speaker, Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen. He reflected on his election and 2017 as well as showcasing his vision for 2018 and beyond for Tees Valley. As ever, the event was fully subscribed providing a chance to network with a variety of businesses from different sectors across the region.
Andrew Stogdale From Inspire 2 Learn
Before the main presentation, Andrew Stogdale from Inspire 2 Learn introduced himself. Inspire 2 Learn is a teaching and learning centre funded by schools in Redcar & Cleveland. The centre runs courses and events specifically in response to local school needs with a particular mission to bring national speakers and events to a local audience. He explained how he is looking for support from local business owners to help create links between schools and the ‘world of work’.
Presentation From Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen
In May of last year Ben Houchen became the first elected mayor of the Tees Valley; a combined authority for the region consisting of five unitary authorities: Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees. He had a blank canvas for setting up a mayoral office and believes that, since his election, he has built a team of people passionate about the region with a similar aspiration to make the Tees Valley thrive.
He Talked About What Was Achieved In 2017 For The Region Including The Budget.
£123 million was allocated from central government for the South Tees Development Corporation; a 4,500 acre site which includes the former SSI steelworks site as well as other industrial areas. Some of the money will go towards the remediation of the site providing the biggest regeneration opportunity in the UK right now! There is hope that 25,000 jobs could be created in the next 20 years with future private sector investment.
Improving the infrastructure of the Tees Valley has also been identified as a major issue for the region. £59 million been allocated from central government as well as another £200 million released from the Teesside Pension Fund. A redevelopment of Darlington train station as well as improvements to the A19 and A66 are highlighted as main priorities among other initiatives.
Ben also hopes to improve the skills of the wider workforce in the Tees Valley by allocating £1.5 million to an apprenticeship scheme that will provide courses in high growth sectors.
He Then Spoke About Some Current Projects
£3.9 million has been allocated to create a bridge in Middlehaven, £4.3 million on the Cleveland Collage of Art & Design and £5.1 million on the Skills Quarter; both in Hartlepool.
A new £13 million investment fund for start up SMEs is also launching; helping new businesses get the access to funding they vitally need. There is also hope for a second devolution deal to give the combined authority more powers for the region.
Honing in on one of his key election pledges, Ben will also present his proposal to the Peel Group in regards to the future of Teesside Airport in the coming months.
The mayoral office also wants to work to promote the region and bring tourists in. He’s looking for anyone who has any ideas on how to do this to get involved. Check out the office’s contact information here.
It was great to see the Mayor talk so passionately and positively about Teesside; a refreshing change. We wish him well in delivering on his promises.
That’s my little sum up of Tees Valley Business Club’s January event at Wynyard Hall. If you’d like the opportunity to network with business people from across the Tees Valley you can find out more information here.
We’ve written about some of their previous networking events which you can read here.