‘Super cluster’ can beat government £1.6bn GDP forecast says STC Chair Roz Bird

Silverstone Technology Cluster

12th December 2018

 

Silverstone Technology Cluster Chair Roz Bird believes a multi-sectoral ‘super cluster’ spanning Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford (CMKO) has the potential to surpass government predictions that it can generate £1.6bn of GDP annually for the UK economy.

Throughout 2018 Roz has appeared as a guest speaker/panellist at several high profile events focusing on the well documented CMKO growth corridor.

More recently these have included Built Environment Networking’s CMKO Corridor Economic Growth Conference’s, Highways UK’s ‘Delivering a World Class Heartland’,  South Northamptonshire Council’s Innovation & Investment conference, SEMLEP’s AMG and an EG property event in London.

Roz commented: “On a platform this year I have talked about how we have taken the MEPC ethos of creating a community of mutual regard beyond the boundary of Silverstone Park. “Setting up Silverstone Technology Cluster has enabled us to reach out to many more companies in the wider geography to help them to network and grow.

“The next logical step then is to take our cluster community out to meet neighbouring clusters, so they can explore new business opportunities. In my view the ‘cluster of clusters’ along the geography of Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford should be recognised as the UK’s high-tech super cluster.”

As well as cluster organisations, the super cluster includes many of the UK’s major R&D assets including the Genome Campus, Harwell and Bletchley. It also boasts some of the best hospitals and universities in the world, all concentrated in one area and benefiting from close proximity to London and the Midlands Engine.

Roz added: “I am determined to do my bit as Chair of the Silverstone Technology Cluster to add value to our STC members – championing the cluster, identifying new business opportunities and maximising those opportunities for UK plc.”

She continued: “The feedback from audiences has been very positive; people are telling me that they like the vision and idea of a super cluster.

“I’m not sure anyone has yet fully realised the extent of the potential of the super cluster. I think there is a massive opportunity to inspire businesses and young people. “And when I have reached out to my contacts, across the geography, about this I have had a very positive response about the idea of working together, based on a seven point plan: 

  • Develop and promote the supercluster vision
  • Arrange business networking opportunities across the supercluster
  • Help companies explore business growth opportunities in existing markets/sectors and tech transfer opportunities
  • Develop a capabilities matrix – mapping company capabilities and current sector activity and spotting business opportunities in further sectors
  • Attract and manage interest from the finance community, large corporates and overseas
  • Improve and add in new showcase facilities across the geography – to demonstrate capabilities to potential investors and business partner
  • Approach the skills agenda differently – see schools as part of the community and the supply chain, engage with teachers and build the understanding of the opportunities and the projects in the super cluster – to inspire young people

“The government says that there’s the potential for an increase of £1.6bn in GDP to be generated from investment in the CMKO geography. “Knowing what I know about the assets in the area and the interest that my colleagues have in working together across the geography to develop business opportunities, I think that means that the GDP ‘value add’ will be higher than currently estimated by the government.”

 

 

 

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