At the national LEP Chairs and Executives Conference which I opened last month, there was much discussion around Government’s invitation for LEPs to develop Local Industrial Strategies to highlight regional economic strengths and weaknesses.

We are seizing this opportunity to showcase Hertfordshire’s world-leading assets and the local impact of the four Grand Challenges facing the UK, namely Artificial Intelligence, Clean Energy, the Future of Mobility and Ageing Society. Governance was also a major point of discussion, and having secured over £320m of UK and EU funding, it is vitally important that we take the right level of accountability and that our approach is transparent. Rest assured that we are taking this very seriously.

We were delighted to have Business Minister Richard Harrington kick-start our Local Industrial Strategy development process at our Annual Conference 2018, for which over 230 delegates registered to attend. Our inspiring speakers from Ocado, BRE, Royal Veterinary College, and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult showcased the cutting-edge innovations taking place right here on our doorstep, setting benchmarks on a global level within their respective specialisms.

Prior to the conference, we also celebrated the launch of our Hertfordshire Science Partnership with the University of Hertfordshire, and I thank the Business Minister for his whole-hearted support and recognition of the venture’s enormous potential. This is a prime example of how we are already delivering on a Local Industrial Strategy by collaborating with academia and business to accelerate research and development to market and support new ideas and technologies.

Our mission now is to create a Local Industrial Strategy that works for you. You will already have read about the Grand Challenge Commission we established to lead this crucial period of business engagement. Get involved by completing our short survey (four questions) to help us understand how the Grand Challenges affect your organisation. You can also keep up with our progress on Twitter using the hashtag #HertsForGrowth.

Mark Bretton, Hertfordshire LEP Chair

Read the Hertfordshire LEP April 2018 Newsletter.

Delegates at our Annual Conference 2018

Business Minister Richard Harrington, LEP Chair Mark Bretton and Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire at the Hertfordshire Science Partnership launch.