Innovation – our heritage and future

Published 25th February 2013 at 11:19am

An article in last week’s Economist, entitled ‘A tantalising prospect’, reports how groundbreaking work with metallic elements by a business called Metalysis in the Sheffield City Region could have a wide reaching implications for global metals markets.

As our City Region celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of Harry Brearley’s pioneering research and invention of stainless steel, the Sheffield City Region will continue to forge its future as a global hub for innovation in manufacturing and technology.

The discovery of stainless steel in 1913 is an innovation which has had a lasting legacy for the City Region’s employment and the economy. Today, the Sheffield City Region continues to attract investments from world heavy-weights in manufacturing innovation – including household names such as Rolls-Royce, Firth Rixson, Boeing and Tata. These businesses form part of a growing community of innovators in the City Region which, with our two world-class universities, share knowledge and ideas to create what is described as our ‘culture of innovation’.

Today’s business leaders know that innovation is critical to their continued survival and success, which is why the Sheffield City Region’s reputation as a hotbed for innovation is a fundamental selling point for our inward investment team as they speak to international business leaders about their expansion plans. Last week, two members of our Inward Investment team attended the Southern Manufacturing 2013 in Farnborough – the UK’s largest regional manufacturing technology, electronics and subcontracting exhibition. Business people at the exhibition were particularly keen to find out more about more our Enterprise Zone, which has already attracted innovative manufacturers including Ellbee and X:Cel Superturn. In addition to its incentives for plant and machinery, our Zone boasts a sophisticated supply chain, high skills, low wages and affordable housing.

This week I’m looking forward to attending the London launch event for the Sheffield City Region Global Manufacturing Festival (GMF). The GMF, to be held in April, will be a three-day event for business networking and knowledge transfer hosted at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham. The LEP is proudly backing this year’s GMF as we believe it has a crucial role to play in creating networks and sharing knowledge that will keep the City Region at the forefront of manufacturing innovation. The importance of this festival as a catalyst for innovation has not been lost on Whitehall, and it is expected that at least one Minister, some of the Region’s MPs and other civil servants will be in attendance at the launch.

GMF logo

Through our ambitious CloudCity Programme, LEP Board Member Lee Strafford is aiming to inspire innovation in our digital sector, which will lead to real economic growth. As part of the CloudCity Programme, this month will mark the launch of the DotForge Accelerator programme, which will fast-track high growth digital startups. The scheme will see ten startups nurtured by 60 mentors over the next 13 weeks and is looking to attract a range of startup businesses to the City Region. For more information, visit www.dotforgeaccelerator.com

I hope you have enjoyed this latest update and I look forward to blogging again soon…

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