#CityRegion2015: Awards are celebrating companies supporting the community

Business leaders sleep out for the archer project
Business leaders sleep out for the archer project
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As a reporter, it’s not often I get to write about things that aren’t all doom and gloom. But working for Business Monthly for the first time has been an unexpected pleasure.

From two entrepreneurial teachers whose bright idea will help prepare children for the classroom and a better education - to Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre giving free consultation to SMEs on how to expand.

Businesses in South Yorkshire are really making a difference to our communities.

Just last month I joined a group of business leaders who slept rough outside Sheffield Cathedral and raised - in one night - more than £27,000 for the Archer Project, a charity that helps the city’s homeless.

Our businesses are not just focusing on profits they are focusing on people.

Tomorrow, I am very much looking forward to attending the Sheffield City Region Business Awards and toasting with a glass of champagne, the very best of our local firms and their skills. It is important to recognise the impact these companies have on the area.

But sadly, I do have to bring in some gloom as there was some news this week that has put a damper on my celebratory mood.

The government has announced that the Network Rail upgrades have been scaled back. The electrification of the Midland Mainline linking London to Sheffield will be postponed, as well as the TransPennine Express railway line between Manchester, Leeds and York.

The upgrade would have attracted more businesses to the area and brought greater prosperity to Sheffield and the region.

We need help to help ourselves. What is the point of the £480 million new retail quarter planned for Sheffield city centre if no one can get to it? The proposals for Sheffield Retail Quarter in the city centre include offices, homes and restaurants and could create about 2,500 jobs, which the city desperately needs.

Better transport links mean more jobs and more money going into our local businesses which will in turn be put back into our local communities.

The decision has stunted our ability to grow.

Seeds of change need to be sown.

As Professor Graham Leslie says in this issue,“small acorns grow into oak trees.”

Investment in businesses is investment in our community.