The East Riding of Yorkshire leader’s column with Stephen Parnaby

More than 60 business leaders attended The Business Day at Bridlington Spa for a day of networking and insight.
More than 60 business leaders attended The Business Day at Bridlington Spa for a day of networking and insight.

Last week was the 13th Humber Business Week, which saw more than 50 events take place showcasing the wealth of talent, entrepreneurship, vision and future potential of the region.

As a keen advocate of local business, the council is proud to sponsor of Humber Business Week and was involved in many of the events across the week.

Stephen Parnaby OBE, East Riding of Yorkshire Council's leader.

Stephen Parnaby OBE, East Riding of Yorkshire Council's leader.

With a workforce of 13,000 providing more than 600 services for local communities and a gross budget of £708.4 million, the council is one of the region’s biggest employers and economic drivers.

The council spent around £285m with third parties, including businesses, in 2017/18 – with £11m on goods and services, £71m on construction and housing and £103m on health and care. Almost 50% of this is with suppliers in the Hull and East Riding area and is up 3% in the past three years.

As well as capital spending, the council also provides practical advice and guidance for local businesses through its business investment and tourism service, with its string of business centres – including the one in Bridlington – being at the forefront of business support.

Events like Humber Business Week have a positive impact on the local economy, as it provides networking opportunities and the chance to learn and develop. It also allows the region to promote itself on the national and international stage as a place to come and do business.

Following its successful debut in 2017, the council and Bridlington Spa again hosted The Business Day, which saw more than 650 business leaders attend for a day of networking discovery and insight.

Guest speakers this year included singer and charity campaigner Sir Bob Geldof, former England and Yorkshire cricketer and now commentator Geoffrey Boycott, social entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn and chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Sir Gary Verity.

The day also included 10 breakout sessions throughout the day for delegates to choose from.

It was a real pleasure to participate in the first ever leaders’ debate between myself and Councillor Stephen Brady OBE, leader of Hull City Council, which was chaired by former MP the Right Honourable Alan Johnson.

The debate gave people a chance to learn more about who we are and why we stood to become councillors.

It also looked at our many years of public service and what we think are the issues, challenges and opportunities facing both the city and the wider East Riding both now and in the future.

For the council, business week allows us hear from local businesses about what we are doing well and also about what we can do to improve the region’s prosperity.

To that end, the council also launched its new economic strategy (2018-2022) for the East Riding.

The strategy acts as a blue print in guiding growth in all parts of the East Riding over the next five years and aims to build on the area’s natural specialisms, such as food, manufacturing, renewable energy and of course tourism.

A vibrant and buoyant economy is vitally important, as it means more learning and employment opportunities, sustainable business growth and good public services.