OPINION: Can we make the powerhouse work?

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A herd of elephants is set to run riot across Sheffield.

No, it’s not an escape from Yorkshire Wildlife Park, but the latest scheme which has been made possible thanks in a large part to the backing of big businesses across the city.

The Herd of Sheffield project will see a total of 40 painted elephants on the city’s streets, each one with a different artistic design, sponsored by different firms.

You can read up on that in Business Monthly, free inside The Star today.

It’s a fantastic project which is also set to raise thousands of pounds for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

But it’s also a great example of what can be achieved when businesses throw their backing behind something important.

We have seen that on several occasions – when something important arises, Sheffield City Region firms are not afraid to get involved and to give it their full support.

That’s also true of HS2, the plans for a high speed station in Sheffield.

Countless major business leaders are nailing their colours to the mast and telling us that they want to see the HS2 station built in the city centre, rather than Meadowhall.

For various reasons – jobs and houses being the main ones – they have been pushing, as a collective, to lobby government and get the station built at Sheffield Victoria instead.

When so many major business leaders are pulling in the same direction and making the same argument, it is surely difficult not to get on board with their views.

Today, another key Sheffield business leader has spoken out – this time calling for those in the industry to make the ‘northern powerhouse’ concept work; also in Business Monthly today.

Former civil service head Lord Kerslake is asking business leaders to ‘make their voice known’ on the northern powerhouse.

After the announcement of job cuts at the government’s ‘northern powerhouse department’ in Sheffield just last week, there has never been a more important time to assess the concept and what it really means for our region, and whether it can be made into something which truly benefits our city.

Sheffield business leaders have shown time and again that they are willing to stand up for the city’s best interests.

Whatever the answer, there is no doubt that their input will be absolutely vital.