2019 was a memorable year in Essex. We celebrated the official opening of our office in Chelmsford and I joined a public/private partnership board called Success Essex, part of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).

2020 looks set to be a big year for Success Essex. We are responsible for ensuring the local industrial strategy is well informed, covers the requirements of our region and sets the tone for a positive and vibrant future in Essex.

There are four themes being developed in our strategy:

  • Dynamic – Growing clusters and networks for innovation, growing the workforce
  • Resilient – Building resilience for climate change, building workforce resilience
  • Inclusive – Ensuring access to better paid, good quality work
  • Connected – Creating a more sustainable network of places

These themes give us great scope to make a real and genuine difference.

I'm leading the resilient working group; with a focus on challenges many of you will be familiar with:

  • We will champion existing low and zero carbon operations and help bring their message to the fore
  • We will make it clear how and where funding for skills, technology and developments can be accessed to give greater growth opportunity in Essex
  • We will share the success of Essex throughout the county and show other regions what we are made of

Tackling climate change

One challenge is using our resources efficiently and decarbonising our economy as quickly as possible, but we will do this in a way that is positive. We are well placed to do this, with many councils and public bodies alongside private businesses declaring their intent to make positive changes.

Essex sits in a great place to maximise our low carbon connections to London, the UK and global partners. It has access to large sources of renewable energy and with a clear strategy to develop new communities in a controlled manner, we can stitch together these components for a low carbon economy.

Cohesion and sharing

It is my belief that we must accept and embrace a broader and more cohesive economy, where those making advances share these with a wider audience and help others make positive changes.

As a board we are passionate about encouraging more knowledge sharing and I can predict that by the end of tenure we will have encouraged more businesses and authorities to share their ideas; these groups will be more effective at what they do and how they work together to improve productivity.

So working with more organisations and harnessing their energy to create a positive future for Essex is 2020's top priority!