I’m not long back from the MIPIM festival in France where I’ve spent a productive few days telling investors from around the world why it makes sense to do business in Liverpool.
I have no voice left but I’ve made some productive connections, banged the Liverpool drum as loudly as I could and told investors all about the exciting opportunities that exist right here in our city working with me and our teams to make great things happen.
We’re building a city with ambitions to become the most business-friendly location in the UK and we have so much to shout about. We are excelling in key industries such as digital and creative. We have one of the UK’s most significant clusters of bio-sciences located right next to the country’s newest deep water freight container terminal. We have a leisure and culture offer that draw visitors not only from our own region, but also nationally and from across the globe.
Investment in the city has topped £1billion for the fifth year in a row and there is currently £14 billion worth of developments in the pipeline. It is crystal clear – the investor confidence is there – but it is up to us to get out there and showcase all the opportunities our city has to offer.
And I did just that in MIPIM. It was an opportunity to announce a couple of exciting developments that Liverpool City Council is involved in, including plans to regenerate the area around the Adelphi Hotel and Lewis’s building in the Ranelagh/Renshaw/Brownlow Hill area – which will be called ‘Upper Central’ to give it its own identity. It will give the area a much needed lease of life and create space for businesses to locate and flourish, particularly those in the science, creative and marketing sectors – all within a stone’s throw of the burgeoning Knowledge Quarter (KQ).
We’re also seeking a new investment partner for the latest development plot at Paddington Village. We have created a new company called Sciontec, jointly owned by the council, the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moore’s University, which will team up with investors to drive the growth of the KQ. The next development at Paddington is a 120,000 sq. ft. office space – which will be home to more tech firms, generating more high-skilled jobs on our doorstep. Inclusive growth at its best!
It was an exciting, but demanding three days and a lot of work went on behind the scenes making sure that our schedule was packed, stands, presentations and videos were eye-catching. It really showed, we stood apart from other cities in our approach and I’m proud to say that we put on a formidable show!
Giant win for Culture Liverpool
I was delighted to see that our celebrated Giant Spectacular scooped the top prize at last night’s Event Production Awards – widely regarded as the ‘event Oscars’. It was another chance to reflect on one of our cultural highlights which drew 1.3million visitors to the city and Wirral, and generated a massive £60.6m for the local economies. For four days the international spotlight shone on the city and once again we more than rose to the occasion.
And it wasn’t the only winner!
We captured a unique double with the city itself being named ‘Best Venue’ in 2018 for the incredible programme of events to celebrate the 10th anniversary of being European Capital of Culture. This will be no surprise to anyone who has experienced our unique cultural offer but it is great to see our team gaining national recognition for their dedication to making Liverpool a beacon for best practice when it comes to culture.
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said it best – we certainly won hearts and minds last year and now we’re winning awards!
Even better, our submission for Best Venue highlighted the role every part of our city played in staging various events across the year – from Tall Ships at the waterfront and Red Bull Driftshifters on The Strand, through to Liverpool International Music Festival in Sefton Park and Summer Social in Croxteth Park. It is testament to the fact that in Liverpool culture is inclusive and within reach of everyone.
And with the launch of the fantastic RISE programme last week, which will celebrate inspiring women from Liverpool and across the globe throughout the year, I have no doubt that 2019 will be just as exciting!