Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Introducing Giles Searby

Published 21st March 2017 at 2:42pm

Giles Searby, Chair of the sector group for Business and Professional Services; a member of the Business Growth Executive Board and the Advisory Group for Inward Investment.

A life on the ocean wave beckoned for Giles Searby when he began his career as a shipping litigation lawyer.

His first job took him around the world, and for 10 years he travelled extensively: sometimes to see Singaporean and Korean shipbuilders; sometimes to Miami and Dubai dealing with cruise shipping matters.

In 2002 he settled in Sheffield and more recently Chesterfield, and is a partner in the hlw Keble Hawson Litigation and Dispute Resolution team in Sheffield. His shipping litigation experience has carried over into his current role, where he specialises in commercial litigation, international trade and contentious intellectual property, particularly for manufacturing companies.

He also deals in sports law, acting for high profile sports figures and football clubs.

LEP Sector Group, Business and Professional Services

The sector is in a good place at the moment. We are working together to ‘grow the pie’ and although the sector is relatively small here, we punch well above our weight. There is plenty of potential to grow this sector and to work closely with the LEP to do this.

For example, business and professional firms can take advantage of the expertise and benefits offered by the SCR Growth Hub and the Skills and Training team. Many businesses need soft skills training such as time management.

North Shoring – the drive to persuade business and professional services firms to create jobs here rather than in London or overseas – is a new move, and I think we are beginning to see some interesting results from that.

LEP Business Growth Executive Board

The Business Growth Board is key to the work of the SCR, steering business development activities. Among its key responsibilities is ensuring the Growth Hub provides the same standard of support across the region.

The Growth Hub acts as a ‘gateway’ for businesses who want to access specialist support in a number of key areas – including innovation, exporting, accessing finance and training. It can draw on the SCR £52million Business Investment Fund.

The launch of the Growth Hub in April followed a successful pilot project, which has already helped more than 300 businesses, and is part of a national roll out of 39 Growth Hubs across the country, funded by central Government.

LEP Advisory Board, Inward Investment

Inward investment is crucial for the region’s prosperity, whether that’s attracting new companies to the region or helping those already here to expand. It’s great news that over 1,000 new jobs in internationally-owned companies and 400 in existing businesses have been created with support from the SCR in the last year. This has brought £97million capital investment into the area across all sectors for machinery, plant, premises and infrastructure.

It’s a major positive shift that the SCR offering is very strategic and joined up so that we don’t lose any opportunities. It’s useful that we can now offer support to inward investors, as we face stiff competition especially from the devolved assemblies. I hope that my own international experience can help in this area.

Sheffield Theatres

I am a member of the Sheffield Theatres Trust Board and I’m particularly proud of the new work we produce. We are also trying to do more outreach work, going into communities where people wouldn’t normally go to a theatre.

A good example recently was our involvement with the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. Dozens of volunteers appeared around the region as part of the national ‘We Are Here Because We’re Here’ project, dressed as Tommies- a moving memorial to the local men who died on the battlefield.


I am a life-long Sheffield Wednesday fan.


I enjoy cooking, particularly seasonal food, and my signature dish is probably a large seafood paella.

I’m a keen vegetable gardener and have a greenhouse full of a glut of tomatoes this year. We also keep chickens and have several rescue dogs, which is an issue my wife is very interested in. I have a son who has just started studying zoology at Leeds University, a daughter, and a stepson.

Living on the edge of Chesterfield I see how many hopes and plans are coming to fruition – the start on Waterside and the plans for Peak Resort. From high spots across Sheffield I can see many building cranes – a great sight. And now I’m beginning to see them in Chesterfield. It’s exciting, and it’s all part of what’s going on across the region.

Comments are closed.