Hotspots event provides platform for #PendlePower

1-lead-imageMore than 70 business leaders from across the county descended on Pendle to learn more about opportunities in the borough at the latest Lancashire Hotspots event.

Delegates were treated to a Question Time-style panel event after an introduction from Pendle Council’s strategic director Dean Langton.

Dean said: “Pendle is a great place to do business. We have connectivity, a number one college and we are number one for manufacturing output in the UK. And we have an abundance of successful SMEs and an entrepreneurial spirit.

“In terms of skills we have our Pendle Business Class programme which is working with education providers and schools to create aspirations – we’re educating pupils on what career opportunities are right here on their doorstep.

“And we are working with businesses in the area to ensure we understand their skills needs so we can work to bridge the gap.

“We wish to partner with businesses in the borough – to work together with public services to help Pendle prosper.”

2-dean-langtonDean illustrated growth opportunities in the borough through ambitious schemes to expand Lomeshaye business park and the £32m development of Northlight at Brierfield Mill.

He added: “To drive our aspirations we have a dedicated business support team within the council that can advise on grants, property and business support.

Richard Slater, publisher of Lancashire Business View, which staged the event in conjunction with Pendle Council, chaired the event.

He said: “Pendle Hotspots focussed on opportunities for businesses currently in Pendle and those planning to relocate.

“Pendle has the largest concentration of employment in manufacturing in England and is a powerhouse for the regional and national economy.

“The event offered a chance for businesses, advisers, public sector colleagues and those in the know to share their thoughts on the strengths, challenges and opportunities facing the Pendle business community.

“The enthusiasm shown by panellists and delegates suggest that the borough is living up to its hashtag of #PendlePower.”

Guest panellists at the event were: Amanda Melton, principal at Nelson and Colne College; Dennis Mendoros, founder of Euravia and chairman of Pendle Vision; Simon Norton, digital marketing manager at cottages.com; Daniel Howarth, head of acquisition marketing at Science In Sport; and Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council.

Panel members commented:

2-dennis-mendorosDennis Mendoros

"Pendle is an epicentre for the aerospace industry with extensive skills required in engineering. This is an attractive place to live and the public and private sector collaboration makes it a great place to do business.

We need to take advantage of our location and extend our links out of Lancashire to the whole of the north of England to create a second economy that businesses can tap into - an extension of the M65 would offer tremendous advantages."

2-amanda-meltonAmanda Melton

"There is a sense of belonging here and it is felt across all industries. The support for business from the council is fantastic and as a business and college we feel we can make a real difference.

We are engaging with businesses so we are aware of what the skills shortages are and we need to encourage people to consider apprenticeships over university courses which will keep them in the area and help to develop on the job skills and training. We now have two careers advice co-ordinators in place to help schools to make time for this."

2-simon-nortonSimon Norton

"We have 500 members of staff at our Earby office and most live locally. They are a dedicated and loyal workforce with half having been with us for over 10 years. We feel our location is better than being within a city environment and we cultivate a sense of community in the business.

Our main challenge is in bringing in digital skills - 85 per cent of our sales are from online activity.  What we need are bright, young, enthusiastic staff. We offer market-beating packages, but there are connectivity issues for commuters travelling long distances."

2-mohammed-iqbalMohammed Iqbal

"Pendle is a hidden gem in northern England and we have a real sense of identity. There is lots of investment going in to the borough to ensure it is a good place to live and work. The challenge is to harness what we have and encourage others to invest here.

Our connectivity is good but we need to improve it. We have the M62 but an extension to the M65 to link us with Yorkshire and beyond is required. We also need to consider how rail can be improved. Pendle is a hub and we need to ensure we can be reached."

2-daniel-howarthDaniel Howarth

"The manufacturing experience and skills here are fantastic. There is a sense of growing partnership between the public and private sectors. We are in a progressive area with real entrepreneurial spirit and there is support available to grow.  We have been able to get guidance fast which has enabled us to secure our roots, invest and deliver growth plans We have a requirement to continually develop and improve and need access to capital. The EU referendum has created uncertainty in our industry and we are building on our investor relationships to ensure success, but these are challenging times."