Chambers plan to transform region

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The money is available - it’s the projects that are lacking.

The region’s four Chambers of Commerce are worried about the lack of “transformational” schemes in Sheffield City Region big enough - up to £75m - to create “significant” numbers of private sector jobs.

So they have joined forces to launch the Big Investment Project inviting ideas from virtually any one.

Proposals will be judged by a panel of local business leaders before the best are submitted to a group of mainly London-based investment fund managers who are set to visit the region early next year.

David Thurkettle, director of PwC and Sheffield Chamber vice-president, said: “We really want to give the economy locally a step change by identifying and providing support to some large, transformational projects.

“The ideas could come from any sector. It is about finding the best ones that could make a real difference.”

James Newman, chair of the region’s Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Recent economic reports have shown a massive gap in our GVA of £3.2bn annually when compared with other regions. We also need to create a larger private sector. Clearly this cannot be achieved by internal growth alone.

“There is a need to encourage a number of large transformational investments addressing gaps in our capability and connecting to our existing economy with the international economies of the future.”

The project is endorsed by Lord Bilamoria of Cobra Beer, Lord Wolfson of NEXT and Keith Morgan from the Business Bank based in Sheffield. The evaluation board includes Justin Urquhart Stewart, of Seven Investment Management, Sir Keith Burnett, University of Sheffield Vice Chancellor) and Dave Hanney formerly of Planet X.