Over one hundred stakeholders from business, public services and social enterprises came together at Brighton’s newest landmark, the i360 (pictured), to debate the future economic prospects of the city.
Facilitated expertly by Regeneris, the aim is to create a dynamic plan supporting business, housing development, sustainable transport and employment. Key themes included economic resilience, international trade, the involvement of the two Universities (Sussex and Brighton) and inclusive growth: to encourage a broader spectrum of the population to participate and benefit in prosperity. “The evening was very engaging with groups considering the distinctive nature of Brighton and Hove and its current and future economic position,” said FSB’s Martin Searle. “There were many ideas put forward as priorities for the City’s future competitiveness.”
The audience learnt that 14,300 jobs had been created since 2011 and 2,700 more businesses since 2012. Brighton and Hove has a 57,000 strong knowledge based workforce with the ICT and digital sector having grown by 40% in the last 5 years. There are 35,000 students and 1 in 5 jobs relate to tourism.
Interestingly, the audience were given insights into comparator towns in England and a thoughtful speech on how Portland in the US state of Oregon has developed its economic prosperity with a unique and ‘weird’ identity. “Brighton certainly is known for being different and diverse and, like Portland, offers a lifestyle that appeals to creative people who work, for instance, in digital technology and as knowledge workers,” added Martin Searle. The Brighton and Hove economic strategy will cover the period from 2018-2023 and will guide where money is spent in, for instance, transport, housing and upon business premises and skills. It will also have to work with the Government’s Industrial Strategy and the wider strategic economic plan of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. Quite a challenge then, in the months ahead.