The Business Magazine Solent & South Central - June 2013
Portsmouth is a bold city - it's made a statement with everything from the Spinnaker Tower skyline and its new Mary Rose Museum to how it saved its beloved football club. As it shapes it future economic development, Sue Hughes reports.
Two years ago Portsmouth City Council appealed to the private sector and other public bodies, to help it improve the economic well-being of the city. The Shaping the Future of Portsmouth group emerged, pledged to support economic growth, innovation, and enterprise, and enhance the competitiveness of the city.
The city council announced a bold plan to generate £1billion worth of investment, capable of bringing among other things 5,000 new homes and 18,500 future jobs in 2012. To
date around 70 organisations are actively involved in the partnership, with 28 in the Business Leaders Group and more than 150 business people actively involved in the work streams.
Shaping the Future of Portsmouth has six current Shaping work streams: education & skills, development, destination marketing partnership, city business and enterprise and culture. They have each selected areas from the council's 19 point action plan to help deliver in the £1b investment.
Achievements to date include: two Opportunities Fairs in the Guildhall, showcasing local business to primary school children; a buddying scheme for head teachers; ambassador scheme to focus on getting positive messages out to the community, schools and businesses; the first tourist economy conference; 'Meet the...' workshops; two Coastal Connections events aimed at those who might want to do business in the city; a Passion for Portsmouth interactive campaign; maths mentoring scheme, and a Bridging the Gap funding won from the Local Enterprise Partnership.
Walter Cha, managing partner at Blake Lapthorn and chairman of Shaping Business Leaders group, said: "Much has been achieved over the past two years, the direct result of the public and private sectors working together under one banner."
Now into the third year, the initiative is set to be even busier. Cheryl Buggy, former lord mayor of Portsmouth and project director of Shaping continues: "The city is in the process of launching its new employment learning and skills plan and Shaping will look to support that in any way it can. We've just launched the sixth strand of our work stream, looking at culture, which is very timely with the joint bid by Portsmouth and Southampton to be the UK City of Culture 2017. The seventh strand will look at social enterprise, because a lot of people do not understand what it is and how much it benefits the local economy."
The city council announced a bold plan to generate £1 billion worth of investment, capable of bringing among other things 5,000 new homes and 18,500 future jobs.
Bestival organiser and Radio One DJ Rob da Bank is helping lead the artistic and creative vision the cities' 2017 bid. Born in Portsmouth, da Bank lived near Southampton for most of his childhood: "My dad used to take us to games at Fratton Park and The Dell, so I've always had a love and passion for both cities. They both made such big leaps in terms of architecture, culture, business and their overall vibe, so I'm delighted to get involved."
Gerald Vernon-Jackson, city council leader, continues: "Portsmouth has been growing its ambitious cultural attractions over the years, but we believe a combined offer would be even stronger. We've worked hard to deliver a comprehensive bid which, if successful, I would act as a catalyst for significant change in both cities.
"Our regeneration strategy is on track to secure £1b worth of funding, part of which is through a combined City Deal bid with Southampton, so we're already working together on huge projects."
Sign up for Portsmouth Opportunities Fair
Businesses are being urged to take part in this year's Portsmouth Opportunities Fair which will take place at Portsmouth Guildhall on October 19.
Now in its third year, it aims to match businesses with young people who want to find out more about careers and apprenticeships.
Businesses showcase opportunities at the event, organised by the Shaping the Future of Portsmouth education group as well as the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Education Business Partnership.
Featuring interactive sessions and workshops, highlighting different pathways into careers and with plenty of practical advice, the idea followed some schools' poor GCSE results and a feeling among the business community that more needed to be done to encourage young people to achieve more.
- The South Coast Business Show tool place last month at Portsmouth Guildhall, featuring B2B and business-to-public networking and a day-long programme of presentations from inspiring business leaders on topics including social media, SEO, finance, recruitment and entrepreneurship.