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Leeds City Region secures funding for game changing programme in India and China

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11 Nov 2015

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership has secured funding from the GREAT UK Challenge Fund (UKCF), part of Government’s GREAT Britain campaign, to deliver two programmes of international activity in China and India.

The campaign, which will be delivered in partnership with eight universities, a number of destination management organisations and private sector partners, including Phoenix Dance Theatre and thebigword, will focus on raising the profile of trade, visitor economy, education and investment opportunities in Leeds City Region within these two significant international markets.

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is one of a number of successful applicants to benefit from the £2m GREAT UKCF, part of the Government’s GREAT Britain Campaign. The GREAT UKCF is being administered by VisitEngland on behalf of The GREAT UK Challenge Fund Board and aims to exploit market opportunities that will create jobs and drive economic growth.

Activity in China will focus on engaging with Chinese alumni from Leeds City Region through the creation of a digital network for alumni. The network will create a community to catalyse conversations in relation to trade and investment, recruitment of ambassadors for the city region’s universities, and host tourism promotions and incentives. Additionally an outbound delegation will deepen alumni relationships and business connections, as well as encourage further knowledge transfer opportunities.

The LEP’s successful GREAT UKCF bid will also facilitate the development of a launch platform in India to raise awareness of the business opportunities in Leeds City Region, increase the presence of Leeds City Region’s visitor economy offer within Indian travel trade itineraries, and increase student recruitment from India. The activity incorporates a research project, identifying the long-term strategy for the region in India, as well as an outbound delegation to develop new international connections across the region’s core business sectors.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said:

“By working closely with partners across Leeds City Region our GREAT UKCF programme will deliver coordinated international campaigns across trade, investment, visitor economy and education in the international growth markets of China and India. The activity is designed to demonstrate our region’s competitiveness globally and will form the basis of our long term legacy programme in China and India to drive extraordinary economic growth across our region.

“By working in close partnership with our higher education institutions and private sector partners, we have developed an exciting and compelling programme to raise the profile of the diverse opportunities across Leeds City Region, specifically exploring how our region can unleash creative capacity to drive business growth.”

Sharon Watson, Artistic Director at Phoenix Dance Theatre, commented:

It is a privilege to be representing the vast cultural offering of Leeds City Region. As a key Northern forerunner in contemporary dance we share the ambitions of the Government’s GREAT Britain Campaign to strengthen key relationships with international partners and create new prospects for the entire region. We hope that through this once in a generation opportunity we can attract renewed international attention to Leeds as a destination city for great culture in the UK”

Nick Marsden, international tax partner at Deloitte in Yorkshire, added:

“Deloitte are delighted to be supporting the GREAT Challenge Fund and in particular to be supporting Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership in strengthening trade and investment links with India.  Indian businesses continue to have a strong appetite for entering the UK market and therefore it is important that Leeds City Region positions itself to capture the opportunity for greater inward investment and all the benefits that can bring to regional economies.”

Bernadette Byrne, Group Client Services Director at thebigword, said:

“We are delighted that funding has been secured to unite businesses in Leeds with China and India. thebigword fully support this initiative and we will be lending our expertise to equip those involved with the necessary means to forge new international connections.”

The planned activity across the two international markets aims to engage with over 20,000 alumni throughout the course of the GREAT UKCF programme, improve perceptions of the city region’s trade, investment, education and visitor economy offer by 90%, secure increased visitor economy bookings and engage with over 100 businesses on trade and investment.

Leeds City Region is working in partnership with Visit Leeds, Visit Bradford, Visit Huddersfield, Leeds City Council, University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University, University of York, York St John University, University of Huddersfield, University of Bradford, thebigword, Phoenix Dance Theatre, UKTI, CBBC, UKIBC and Deloitte to deliver the programme.

The funding from the Government’s GREAT Britain campaign provides a platform for more partners to join the programme of activity in both China and India.  Interested companies should contact Charlotte Rutherford at the LEP.