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National inquiry launches in Sheffield to explore how cities can unlock UK’s £479bn busi.....

National inquiry launches in Sheffield to explore how cities can unlock UK’s £479bn business potential 

Grant Thornton kicks off city inquiries to explore the potential of Britain’s cities 

A national inquiry launches today to identify how to unlock the full potential of cities across the UK. 

In the wake of revealing that an additional £479 billion could be added to the UK economy by 2025 from the nation’s untapped business potential, Grant Thornton UK LLP is convening people from across the private, public and third sectors to drive a more vibrant economy for the UK. 

Grant Thornton is bringing together Sheffield’s private, public and third sector leaders to focus on leveraging Sheffield’s strengths around innovation and creativity and maximising its contribution to the Northern Powerhouse. 

At the kick off event in Sheffield, inspiring entrepreneurial innovators, native fast growth businesses and accelerators, such as StairSteady, Dotforge, and Delicious Alchemy, will work with leaders of public and third sectors, such as the University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council to create an action plan for the city to become the innovation and creativity capital of Europe. 

According to CEBR data Sheffield’s region (Yorkshire & Humberside) can contribute £57 billion to the £479bn gap. With a GVA of £44,100 per head, Sheffield is 15% behind the national average of £51,600. If the city region met the national average, it stands to contribute an additional £5.5 billion to the local economy a year. 

Despite issues of talent retention and an ageing population, Sheffield’s recent business growth statistics indicate a more dynamic economy. The proportion of businesses turning over £1 million - £2 million and growing to over £3 million within three years in the Sheffield City Region (7.2%) is above the national average (6.9%), demonstrating an environment that nurtures and supports dynamic businesses. 

Working with a group of independent leaders, including Paul Lindley, founder of Ella’s Kitchen, Grant Thornton believes collaboration will drive ideas and actions to enable cities, companies and communities to build a more vibrant economy; one that accelerates both economic and social progress in the UK. 

The inquiries will be hosted in 12 cities across the UK and will explore the nation’s collective ambition and opportunities for sustainable growth through the appreciative inquiry method that has been successful internationally: 

  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Leeds
  • Edinburgh
  • Sheffield
  • Cambridge
  • Milton Keynes
  • Reading
  • Liverpool
  • Leicester
  • Bristol
  • Oxford 

Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of Grant Thornton UK LLP, comments: 

“Having set out a clear purpose to shape a vibrant economy, I'm excited that we're kicking off our city inquiries to bring people together from the private, public and third sectors to consider how to tap into the unlocked potential in the UK. We know that the biggest change comes from focusing on the right questions, sharing what is working already and building on that to move forward. It's an ambitious approach – and we believe that by connecting and convening people in this way we'll create lasting value for businesses, people and the communities in which they live and serve.” 

Paul Lindley, Founder and Chairman of Ella’s Kitchen and Vibrant Economy Commissioner, adds: 

“Having grown up in Sheffield, I am thrilled that we have kicked off our first inquiry in my home town. I have seen first-hand how individuals and businesses alike can harness their skills, tenacity, innovation and creativity to succeed. Just imagine what we can achieve if the whole community came together and discussed how we can embark on our next stage of growth – I’m looking forward to seeing how the city takes ownership of its future.”