Opportunity North East (ONE) has launched a new series of regional engagement to drive private sector action and investment for sustainable business growth and quality jobs in the low-carbon economy.
The “Transforming Our Region” event last night was the first in a series of "in conversations" attended by more than 50 industry leaders representing the key sectors of digital; energy; food, drink and agriculture; life sciences and tourism.
The event marked the first in-person event ONE has hosted in over two years and proved to be a valuable opportunity to engage with businesses and organisations across the north east who shared their ideas on how we can effectively transform the economy of our region.
ONE chief executive, Jennifer Craw, opened the event providing a summary of ONE impact and delivery since 2016. ONE chairman, Sir Ian Wood KT GBE, and co-founder and former CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management, Martin Gilbert, shared their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities our region faces as we navigate economic recovery.
The series will continue with Entrepreneurial Growth and Digital Acceleration events in the first half of 2022 and culminate in ONE’s annual event in summer 2022. Each "in conversation" event involves participants setting out their priorities for diversifying the economy and securing high-value jobs across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Prominent businesspeople, industry leaders, and politicians will support the campaign through a series of ONE Voice videos running at the events and online. Participants sharing their experiences of working with ONE include Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Kate Forbes MSP, OGUK CEO, Deirdre Michie, NovaBiotics CEO, Deborah O’Neill, and CBRE Senior Director, Derren McRae.
Jennifer Craw, chief executive of ONE, said:
"Through Opportunity North East, the private sector is shaping the region’s future economy. Over the past five years, we've demonstrated our ability to develop, lead and deliver transformational projects that make a difference to new, scaling and established businesses in our key industries. Regional projects with national impact.
“Engaging with businesses and partners and turning ideas and opportunities into action and investment is what ONE does. This new series of transforming our region conversations will shape the region's future low-carbon economy and the quality and scale of opportunities it provides for businesses and individuals.”
Sir Ian Wood said:
“The region is at a crucial milestone in its economic transformation. We have been steeped in oil and gas for 40 years and we’re now transforming through energy transition to be a global energy region. We have the opportunity to develop significant new energy activities alongside oil and gas and this will key for our economy.
“We’re also making significant progress in our more traditional activities. The creation of Biohub will make Aberdeen one of the UK’s most dynamic locations in the UK, Seedpod will be a go-to centre of excellence that will deliver the north east food and drink industry’s growth ambitions and, through ONE Tech Hub, we are accelerating a vibrant and distinct digital cluster for the region.
“And the North East Adventure Tourism Project has great potential to develop a range of exciting sporting and leisure activities which will take full advantage of our adventurous environment both on land and on water.
“These are all positive developments, but we must and can do more. This relaunch of ONE as we’re coming out of what has been a nightmare Covid experience gives us a valuable innovation platform to engage with businesses, partners and the wider private sector to understand how best to maximise opportunities and secure future prosperity in the low-carbon economy.”
Martin Gilbert said:
“Opportunity North East is a trusted partner of businesses, industry sectors and government and has set the bar high for private-sector economic leadership in Scotland. I'm hugely impressed with the work done to date to diversify our economy across the sectors, and ONE transformational projects are accelerating this evolution at a critical time.
“The last two years have been enormously challenging, but the private sector continues to adapt. Businesses and the region as a whole must embrace new opportunities now to create a sustainable and vibrant economic future.
“Last night’s event was a key part of that process and I encourage as many businesses as possible to engage with ONE going forward, to make the most of the support available to them and contribute to transforming our region.”
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