Trade minister praises Bristol’s strength in attracting inward investment

July 24, 2015

Bristol’s ambitions to attract more inward investment and boost exports were highlighted this week with the visit of trade and investment minister Lord Francis Maude.

Lord Maude met a cross section of small and medium-sized firms and recent investors in the city along with representatives from aerospace giant Rolls-Royce, which has its main military engine plant at Patchway, and inward investment agency Invest Bristol & Bath.

He also held talks with Business West, which runs the contract for the Government’s UK Trade & Investment in the South West, to learn more about how its national export drive is being implemented in the region.

The minister also saw Business West’s innovative shipping container which showcases products from local firms selling across the globe including those taking tea to China, cheese to France and cider to Australia.

The Government aims to have 100,000 more companies exporting in 2020 than in 2010, and to reach the target of £1 trillion in exports.

Lord Maude said: “With UK products and services in such high demand, this is an opportune moment to capitalise and encourage companies across the length and breadth of the UK to expand overseas.

“The South West is already on this export journey and successfully attracting high-quality inward investment. But there is still more we can do.”

West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chief executive Barbara Davies added: “Lord Maude’s visit to Bristol illustrated the Government’s continued focus on the region, an area it recognises as a major contributor to UK plc.

“Bristol and Bath has a growing reputation as one of the UK’s top global investment hotspots and is continuing to attract businesses, blue-chip firms and start-ups alike, which are drawn to its key sector strengths in hi-tech, creative and digital, aerospace and advanced engineering, and professional and financial services.”

Business West, which runs Bristol Chamber of Commerce and the Initiative, has launched its own campaign – #GetExporting – to get 2,020 businesses exporting more by 2020.

Business West managing director Phil Smith said: “With the Government setting ambitious targets for exports, Business West has followed suit by launching our

“Seeing our innovative shipping container gave Lord Maude a chance to see sample products exported from the South West and to hear about successful local businesses spearheading this export drive by putting the South West on the world map.

“Together we can send a collective message that exporting can be done successfully, particularly when they make use of the great support and guidance available from UK Trade & Investment and Business West.”

Latest figures showed that nearly 900 jobs are set to be created in the West of England over the next three years by the 37 companies that have set up a base in the region in 2014/15, many of them from the US.

Examples include American supercomputer giant Cray, which last month opened its European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters in Bristol, and leading global provider of business process outsourcing services IBEX Global, which also has a base in Bristol.

The Bristol and Bath region was last year highlighted by McKinsey & Co/Centre for Cities as having the only fast-growing and globally-significant high-tech cluster in the UK, while a Tech Nation report earlier this year found that Bristol and Bath’s digital cluster is the largest in the UK outside London by volume of employment.

Meanwhile Bristol – European Green Capital 2015 – is to be a testbed for cutting-edge future cities technology, including driverless cars.

Pictured: Lord Francis Maude, centre, flanked by Paul Coles, BT regional partnerships director, Business West chairman Stephen Robertson, Business West managing director Phil Smith, Business West commercial director James Monk, UKTI regional director Russell Jones, and UKTI digital trade adviser Neil Roach


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