Video released as campaign launched to get the message out about Blackpool's business potential

Business leaders heard how Blackpool is being transformed into a destination for investment and enterprise which has access to a surprisingly large skilled workforce within an hour's travelling distance.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 12:42 pm
BEIS Parliamentary Under Secretary, Lord Oliver Henley, visits Victrex at Thornton. He is pictured with research and development director Paul Hunt, energy business unit director James Simmonite and Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard.

The resort is being put in the spotlight by a new online marketing drive designed to attract new businesses to the town.

Blackpool: The Place for Business was launched at Blackpool and the Fylde College’s Lancashire Energy HQ at the airport to an audience of county business leaders.

The digital campaign aims to celebrate the town’s business strengths and regeneration successes and make use of the online support of the business community to put Blackpool on the global stage for business investment.

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BEIS Parliamentary Under Secretary, Lord Oliver Henley, visits Victrex at Thornton. He is pictured with research and development director Paul Hunt, energy business unit director James Simmonite and Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard.

Key speaker Nick Smillie, from Clarity Business Strategies which is leading the campaign, took to the stage to reveal insights from recent research.

He said: “The Blackpool area provides investing companies with direct access to UK-leading industry clusters, high-quality property and site solutions and a large-scale, skilled workforce.

“The area saves businesses money too, with significant labour and property costs advantages versus key competitor UK locations. It all adds up to a powerful location proposition for businesses in the town’s target sectors.”

He said people habitually think of Blackpool as being a tourism centre, but he showed that it had access to a divers and highly skilled workforce within a 40 minute catchment area.

Lord Henley at the Lancashire Energy HQ on Squires Gate Lane. He is pictured with principal and chief executive Bev Robinson and operations manager Candice Downie.

He compared it to Bristol, nationally noted for its aviation industry, saying the resort had 6,200 aerospace workers in its hinterland while Bristol had only 800 more.

He said the research show Blackpool had 13,3000 advanced manufacturing workers within 40 minutes travelling while Bristol, which had a population of 1000,000 more, had 14,000.

He said the coast has a legacy of advanced materials expertise traced back to ICI at Thornton with world leading companies, a strong presence in the regional energy cluster, and expertise in food manufacturing.

He urged all these companies to join the online campaign and help sell Blackpool’s potential and successes world wide via social and business media platforms.

BEIS Parliamentary Under Secretary Lord Henley outside Blackpool and The Fylde College's Lancashire Energy HQ with principal and chief executive Bev Robinson

Other speakers included Claire Lee, from Blackpool and The Fylde College; Mark Bowen, business gateway manager at Lancaster University; Martin Long, commercial property partner at Napthens Solicitors; and Nick Gerrard, growth and prosperity programme director at Blackpool Council.

Nick Gerrard highlighted the changes the resort was undergoing such as The Talbot Gateway scheme creating quality office space in the town, The Houndshill extension, the Winter Gardens Conference centre being built, the £7n Quality Corridor project to improve roads and high streets, the airport enterprise zone and the huge Blackpool Central visitor attraction.

Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member for business, enterprise and job creation at Blackpool Council, said: “When people think of Blackpool, they often picture tourism.

"What they don’t see are the impacts of our £1bn Growth and Prosperity Programme which includes our leading Enterprise Zones which house world-class businesses, our first rate upgraded Winter Gardens conference centre, our transformed town centre offices and the fact that Blackpool will be the first town to roll out 5G networks for digital start-ups.”