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We’re open for business
12:00am Tuesday 19th February 2013 in The York Report
As a city, we continue to ambitiously work towards becoming a top-five UK city and top-10 European mid-sized city in economic competitiveness terms.
To achieve this, we rely fundamentally on the success of businesses in the city– starting, growing and locating here. I’d like to thank York’s existing businesses for making the city what it is today and welcome those businesses – such as Hiscox, John Lewis and Access Intelligence – who are locating here in the near future.
We are working hard with partners across the city to remove any barriers standing in the way of enterprise so that York is the best possible destination for business.
Some of these challenges are at a national level, but many are matters that are within our gift to address locally, such as gaining critical investment, providing a suitable city infrastructure, a culture of enterprise and in ensuring the way we do business as a city and a business community is innovative and progressive.
To support this aim, we have created a £28.5million Economic Infrastructure Fund, using New Homes Bonus and prudential borrowing to create a fund of critical mass that we can invest in strategic infrastructure necessary to making it easier for businesses to start and grow in this city.
The council continues to work within the Leeds City Region (LCR) and as an associate member of the Association of West Yorkshire Authorities (AWYA), to ensure York has both regional and national influence and connectivity.
We gained Super Connected City status to expand the reach of broadband and Wi-Fi across York, and have worked to significantly “up our game” on digital infrastructure to support our businesses competitiveness and position the city as the Digital Infrastructure Capital of the North.
We played a key part in the Leeds/Bradford to Heathrow flight routes being reinstated and, more recently, led an East Coast Main Line Group of Local Authorities to lobby government for investment across the line and to gain the benefits of HS2. We also continue to progress key sites in the city, such as York Central, and lobby Government for necessary gap funding to make these sites work for the city’s economy.
Importantly, we are doing what we can to open further the door for local businesses to tap into growing international markets. Our export forum, chaired by Brian de Vere of Yorkshire Bank, has seen exporters coming together with non-exporters to provide business-to- business advice for our local businesses to enable them to tap into foreign markets for the first time or explore new markets.
Collaborations with the universities and the business community have helped proactively open doors to international markets such as in Shanghai, Chicago and New York and Dijon, with plans for Nanjing, Luxor, Eqypt and Canada in 2013.
We are developing an internationalisation network to help businesses connect with markets where York already has links, alongside access to shared York marketing materials and specialist advice.
There is clearly more that we plan to do and more that we are committed to doing as a city to create an even better business environment in York. My challenge to you is to work with us as we take our ambitions further. York really does mean business.
- Coun James Alexander, leader of City of York Council