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Expectations of growth in York and North Yorkshire economy
EXPECTATIONS of little growth in the UK economy in 2013 aren't dampening the spirits of business leaders in York and North Yorkshire.
Susie Cawood, head of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said 2013 looked likely to be a good year for York and businesses needed to think positively.
"York is the third-fastest growing city in the country, a modern, dynamic European city that is open for business, open for investment and open for economic growth.
"We have some real positives to look forward to in the year ahead, including construction work starting at the £90 million Monks Cross retail development, international specialist insurer Hiscox opening an office in York, continued expansion at the University of York and a new direct link from Leeds Bradford International Airport into Heathrow.
"Talking to our members, it feels as though businesses have adapted to the new business environment and now need confidence in the economy to invest and grow for the future."
James Buffoni, commercial director of the Ryedale Group, the winner of Business Of The Year at The Press Business Awards, said he did not expect much improvement in the economy in 2013.
But he said the business had plans to consolidate its position, ensuring it was in good shape to take advantage of growth opportunities. The business is to overhaul its management information system to make its data and information more readily available, and work with its staff on the company's goals and priorities to align everybody in the business with its strategy.
He said this would enable them to be more inventive in approaching the market for new and existing customers.
"We will be much more dynamic and fluid to innovate and respond to demand.
"We have grown the business sideways dramatically, diversifying into new markets.
“Now we need to grow upwards, take the winners and scale them up, which will include export opportunities," he said.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also found that small firms showed cautious optimism heading into the new year, with its Small Business Index, which measures confidence among small enterprises, up 18.8 points on the start of 2012.
Simon Williams, North Yorkshire regional chairman for the FSB and owner of York-based same-day courier business Yorkshire Express Services Ltd, said: "There's no doubt that it is still a tough environment and the Autumn Statement highlighted that it's going to be tougher for longer. However, small firms want to get on, grow their business and invest."