Inviting the world to be part of our success

Having attended the conference for a number of years, I�ve been pleased to see our presence evolve and grow, showcasing the region to its fullest. In a shrinking world, the challenge at any such expo is to display something unique; and I believe this year we did. At MIPIM 2018, Leeds City Region showcased people as much as property. I believe this is crucial as it is what sets the City Region apart from our counterparts nationally and internationally. We are doers, innovators and forward thinkers; we appreciate and treasure our history but we are focused on tomorrow.

Investors and developers from around the world were all interested to learn from our civic and business leaders the scale of the opportunity we represent - that as a City Region, we have a larger economy than nine EU countries and each year have a net gain in talent. This coupled with our track record of success with regards to attracting and growing investment in the region from international businesses including Sky, Burberry, Perform Group, and now Hudl, emphasised why they should be looking to us for their next investment.

The people first approach ran throughout our programme with sessions on topics including culture, sustainability and housing which highlighted why people choose to invest, locate and live in our region. I have always been clear that our cultural offer, from Halifax�s revitalised Piece Hall � where I am very proud to play a role � to The Hepworth Wakefield, the Art Fund Museum of the Year, has a crucial role to play in this region�s social and economic well-being for generations to come.

Also, I was also pleased our delegation reflected a variety of expertise and perspectives and that long standing sponsors and new faces united to champion the region. It was fantastic to see lawyers, architects, developers and others coming together with civic leaders to share not only their positive experience of our region but also the connected ambition for the future.

It was clear over the week that momentum is building in the region from the number of announcements which were made by our delegates. In particular it was fantastic to be able to announce the expansion of Shoosmiths at Platform in Leeds on our stand. This news is a testament to the strength of the region�s talent and financial and professional services sector. This national law firm is able to find the right people and environment here to support its growth ambitions.

Additionally, emerging research was released demonstrating that Northern Powerhouse Rail in Bradford city centre could boost the economy by up to �15 billion by 2060 and that the transformational investment in the city�s transport Interchange could create up to 15,000 new jobs across Leeds City Region.

MIPIM 2018 also highlighted some of the innovative approaches our region is taking to tackling global challenges. In particular in the area of sustainability and future development, Chris Thompson from Citu said something which struck a chord with me: �I think people realise life is precious and they want to live life to the fullest � so we as developers and the property industry need to make sure we build things that meet people�s requirements such as access to amenities, public realm and walkability. This is where we [Citu] are, trying to create not just buildings but places that tap into this.�

This is a vision we at the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership in conjunction with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority share. We are working with our local government partners and the private sector to create an economy which provides opportunities for all the people who live, work or come to visit here.

In fact it was this message of partnership working which came across during the premier of our new inward investment film Be Part of Our Success. This film is a statement of intent to our partners; but more importantly it is an invitation to the world to join us, be part of our success and help us shape the future.

The full impact of our presence at MIPIM will emerge in the coming weeks months and years, but the City Region�s delegation was very busy taking part in over 30 events attended by investors, developers and occupiers. Now we�re home we will follow up these new connections in order to ensure we capitalise on opportunities.

I would like to close this column by saying a big personal thank you to all our delegation and in particular the private sector sponsors, who recognise the importance of the City Region�s attendance at MIPIM which would not be possible without their support. I look forward to working with you all in the future to promote at a global level the opportunities which exist in our region, to attract investment. Together we can achieve the region�s ambition of delivering economic growth for and to everyone.