Jean Mountain, centre, at Friars Mill's Open Day
Jean Mountain, centre, at Friars Mill’s Open Day

The Midlands Engine for Growth should be at the heart of the Government’s strategy for the UK economy, one of the East Midlands’ most senior business figures has said.

That was the rallying call from East Midlands Chamber President Jean Mountain, who addressed 520 local business leaders at the Chamber’s annual dinner last night (17 MAR).

During her President’s address, Jean spoke passionately about the key role the region has to play in driving the UK’s economy.

She said: “We’re extremely fortunate to have such a broad-based and well-balanced regional economy, with real strengths in manufacturing and engineering, the service sector and science and technology.

“Our key strengths lie in two key areas, here, we make things and we move things, which people around the world enjoy.

“This part of the country truly is the UK economy’s Engine for Growth, but as a region, we need to get much smarter in terms of the way we hunt as a pack for funding and resources, like they do so effectively in the West Midlands, the North East and other parts of the UK.

“The UK will thrive only if the Engine for Growth is firing on all cylinders, so it’s vital that politicians, policymakers and Parliamentarians always take into account the important role that this region plays in driving economic growth and job creation in the UK.”

Renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, were the guest speakers at the dinner, which took place at The Roundhouse, in Derby.

At the event, the Chamber unveiled Nottingham fashion designer Sir Paul Smith as the recipient of its 2016 Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Business.

Over the past 40 years, Sir Paul has forged a reputation as the UK’s foremost designer. In that time, he has built a company, in his own name, of global repute.

Previous recipients of the award include former Emda Chairman Dr Bryan Jackson, ex-Bombardier and D2N2 LEP Chairman Colin Walton, Experian founder Sir John Peace, former University of Derby Vice-Chancellor Prof John Coyne, former University of Leicester Vice-Chancellor Prof Sir Bob Burgess and former Nottingham Trent University Vice-Chancellor Prof Neil Gorman.

Our key strengths lie in two key areas, here, we make things and we move things, which people around the world enjoy.

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