It’s official: South East Midlands is the third strongest economy in the country

18 June 2015

SEMLEP’s economic prowess is now officially acknowledged as exceptional following this week’s government announcement that the South East Midlands is a leading area in the UK for attracting foreign direct investment.

The South East Midlands – an area which covers Aylesbury, Banbury, Bedford, Bicester, Daventry, Kettering, Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Milton Keynes, Northampton – has been unveiled as home to the third strongest Local Enterprise Partnership in the country, runner up only to Birmingham and Manchester.

The announcement was made this week at the UKTI LEP conference, when government announced its Foreign Direct Investment results and unveiled SEMLEP as taking third position, with a confirmed 60 Foreign Direct Investment successes in 2014-15, investments which created 2,007 new jobs and safeguarded 2,300. SEMLEP performed particularly strongly in the Business Professional and Financial Services and Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing sectors, with 43% and 38% of recorded successes in these sectors respectively.

Mayor Dave Hodgson, Board Director and Inward Investment Chair of SEMLEP and Leader of Bedford Borough Council, said: “We are delighted that the South East Midlands has been recognised as a leading area for attracting foreign direct investment. It is no surprise that we have been ranked so highly given the area’s exceptional facilities, innovative companies, committed training providers and skilled workforce.”

Rae Lavene, SEMLEP board director and Chair of SEMLEP’s Velocity business support programme, said: “The South East Midlands is a destination of choice and a prime location for businesses, investors and visitors.

“We are strategically located at the crossroads of London, the Midlands, Oxford and Cambridge, offering an excellent blend of urban living with rural quality of life. SEMLEP offers essential support to resident businesses and potential investors and we are delighted to be recognised as one of the UK’s leading economies.”

Here are a host of SEMLEP’s other accolades:

SEMLEP’s business support programme, Velocity, is one of the best performing growth hubs in the country, smashing tough Government targets by 40 per cent in its first year. Lancaster University, Wave 2 Growth Hubs programme. June 2015

The South East Midlands is third out of 39 Local Enterprise Partnership areas in England for business innovation. Benchmarking Local Innovation report, The Enterprise Research Centre. June 2015

Cranfield University in the South East Midlands is the UKs most business-engaged university, having achieved more than 750 collaborations with businesses and governments around the world. National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), May 2015

The South East Midlands is home to the fourth fastest growing Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area in England in 2013. Office for National Statistics 2015

For the sixth year running Milton Keynes is the UK’s top city for job growth with 24,000 new jobs created in the city between 2004 and 2013. Centre for Cities report 2015

The South East Midlands is top for food and drink having secured a new Food Enterprise Zone, one of only six in the country, in Central Bedfordshire. It is set to create around 2,000 jobs by 2020. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, March 2015

Bicester in Oxfordshire is the country’s second new garden city and up to 13,000 new homes are due to be built in sustainable urban extensions, to help deal with the UK’s housing shortage. The Treasury, December 2014