The Government’s proposal to boost economic growth in the North of England by creating a Northern Powerhouse that includes both Leeds and Sheffield as ‘core’ cities. So what does the Northern Powerhouse strategy really mean for existing Yorkshire businesses?
Business strategy and growth expert, Gary King, has provided us with the latest insight:
1. What do you think the Northern Powerhouse will do for Yorkshire?
We need autonomy so I am hoping that it will give greater localised decision making capabilities for us to influence economic growth in our region.
2. What will the Northern Powerhouse do for you/your company?
My company, Tendo, is all about helping the SME community to improve and prosper. Failure statistics are below average in our region (only 50% of UK businesses reach the five-year mark, in Leeds alone this is reduced to just 42%.) I therefore hope that the Northern Powerhouse will bring greater focussed investment, particularly in skills training and business support to facilitate growth of the 120,000 SMEs in Yorkshire.
3. Has the government done enough to convince you of its commitment to Osborne’s vision?
No. We have recently seen the government pull vital funding in training and business support which means firms cannot prosper as well. We therefore need decentralised decision making power so we can support our own infrastructure.
4. Connectivity has been a major driving force behind the Northern Powerhouse. Do you believe that spending billions of infrastructure will improve the economic climate in the North?
Yes, but we have to spend wisely and in a timely fashion. We’ve recently heard a lot about HS3 plans. This is of little benefit to most SMEs in our region. We need greater local transport links and investment into Yorkshire’s rail and road infrastructure – particularly the M62 and road and rail transport into city centres.
5. What, if any, other sectors/industries should the government key in on to achieve a Northern Powerhouse?
For me, education is key. We’re not educating young people with the skills necessary to run a business. The curriculum therefore needs changing to give young people these skills to flourish as entrepreneurs. I’d prefer to see more business and language on the curriculum to ensure school leavers are equipped for business. I also think manufacturing, construction, export and digital industries need to be invested in.
There should be more sector-specific skills hubs to provide more opportunities for businesses to collaborate and share best practice to help get through the all-important first five years of business. We have fantastic innovation and heritage in these areas and we must utilise this.
6. Are there any other areas which you believe money should be spent on, ahead of transport?
Again education in the form of better skills, access to training and business mentoring is key. Many SMEs are failing because leaders do not have the right skills and support to run a business. It can be a lonely place – it’s our job to provide an infrastructure for long term growth and sustainability.
8. As with the Sheffield, should the other regions in Yorkshire try to strike a devolution deal with the government?
Yes. Devolution gives us autonomy and a greater decision making ability.
9. Will the Northern Powerhouse be realised in Yorkshire?
I certainly hope so. It needs to be based on the local business economy flourishing and not a short-term party political agenda to win an election.
About Gary King
Having spent more than 25 years in business, tackling just about every issue and opportunity you are likely to encounter, Gary is perfectly placed to advise ambitious businesses with an appetite for growth.
He asks the difficult questions, the ones no one else dares to ask you – the ones you dare not ask yourself. He combines this with an uncompromising drive for accountability which has transformed many diverse businesses.
Gary fulfils many roles for SME businesses – mentor, advisor, coach; at the heart of it is a desire for business owners to live the life they dreamed about when they first started a business.
Based in Leeds, Gary is passionate about helping people to do more – winning more customers, achieving higher sales and growing profits with sustainable results.
However you define what more is for you – more sales, more time with family, more growth, more delegating – his goal is to develop a solid strategy that carves out the lifestyle, income and business growth you want, and to make you accountable for delivering it. Accountability is the key for Gary, as the best strategy in the world will get you nowhere without you being held accountable for delivering it.