SECOND OPINION: Leicestershire's MIPIM 2013 was excellent achievement
Exactly 12 months ago I voiced my disappointment in this publication at the lack of a co-ordinated Leicester presence at MIPIM 2012, held in Cannes, south of France.
I had just returned having once again been part of an informal Leicester team comprising various private businesses vying to get noticed among the high-profile formal delegations from across the world.
But one year on, how things have changed. MIPIM 2013, will, in my opinion, go down as a landmark event in the future of the city and county. The fantastic work undertaken by the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), and, in particular Sue Tilley, in coordinating both public and private sectors, and attracting a significant number of corporate sponsors, is an excellent achievement.
By showing a united front and a "to do" attitude, Leicestershire has put itself firmly on the map and signalled it is open for business. Having the elected mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby and Nick Rushton, leader of the county council, sharing a platform in Cannes outlining joint support for 29 proposed schemes across both the city and county is a significant step forward.
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When their presence is combined with leading figures from both the LLEP and Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, Peter Wheeler from Leicester Tigers and a number of significant businesses it presents a joined up, action-orientated proposition.
Team Leicestershire may not yet have the reputation nor the presence that many long-established players at MIPIM possess but as we all know, "mighty oaks from little acorns grow". The challenge now is to build on the contacts established at the event and to help attract much-needed investment. The LLEP needs all the support it can get from businesses to help drive this initiative and I would therefore urge the business community to help in any way. Hopefully, then I will be able to write in even more glowing terms of Team Leicestershire's increasing impact at MIPIM 2014.
Kevin Harris is deputy chairman of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce and a partner at business adviser Cooper Parry, in Leicester.