A new senior analyst for Tees Valley Unlimited says the region has a lot to be positive about – despite the area facing two major challenges.
Keith Wilson is the new economic strategy and intelligence manager for TVU, and spoke to guests at the latest meeting of the Tees Valley Business Club, held at the Materials Processing Institute in Middlesbrough.
Mr Wilson has worked for the last 15 years in economic development across a range of devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
In a Video Interview with Tees Business, he told us: “The movement over to a combined authority brings many opportunities which I’ve seen happen across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – the scale of economic development powers which we’d have in the Tees Valley area.
“We have seen a significant rise in start-ups, we have quite an entrepreneurial culture here.
“We have to transfer those start-ups into companies with growth potential, getting them up from that one or two-person sized company to a £1m-plus after three years, that’s where the real ambition is.
“We have key areas in which we’re world class. The chemical industry (on Teesside) accounts for 58% of the UK’s whole chemical industry output.
“And we’re the only region in the UK which is a net exporter of goods, something no other region in the UK can say, which is something to be very proud of.
“So we have a good tradition of entrepreneurship, a good tradition in heavy engineering and an area which constantly exports goods, and that’s something on which to build your prosperity upon.”
Mr Wilson admits there are two major challenges which the Tees are currently faces.
“The first one is the productivity gap, in that there are too few of our companies investing in innovation,” he added.
“Our GVA per head is approximately 25% lower than the national average.
“The second issue we have is business density – we have too few companies across the area, about a third lower than the national average.
“Both of these issues can be remedied, but by investment in innovation and business growth activities.”
Mr Wilson gave a presentation about the Local Enterprise Partnership update to the members of the Tees Valley Business Club at the meeting held at MPI.
MPI CEO Chris McDonald also gave an overview of the past, present and future of the site and the support it offers to businesses across the region.
Those interested in joining TVBC can find out more by clicking here.
Click here to see Mr Wilson’s interview in full.