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London Local Enterprise Partnership is the leading LEP in Europe according to fDi's European Cities and Regions of the Future 2018/19 ranking, with nearby Thames Valley Berkshire in second place. Cathy Mullan reports.

In addition to winning the title of European City of the Future, London Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – which incorporates the UK capital – has also ranked first among all LEPs, as well as ranking as the top LEP for Economic Potential, Human Capital and Lifestyle and Business Friendliness.  

London LEP boasts the highest GDP and highest GDP per capita of all 38 LEPs in the ranking. It is unrivalled in terms of investment attraction, attracting more FDI projects than all other LEPs combined. London LEP is home to 25 International Baccalaureate schools and 38 higher education institutions, while eight of the world’s top 500 universities are in the capital region, offering investors a highly educated workforce and helping London to rank first for Human Capital and Lifestyle.

Into the Valley

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP remains in second place of all the UK’s LEPs, and includes towns such as Maidenhead, Slough and Reading within its boundaries. The region boasts a low unemployment rate of 3.6% and the second highest level of GDP per capita after London, more than $65,200 at purchasing power parity, contributing to its second place ranking for Economic Potential.

Thames Valley Berkshire has also received the third highest level of inward investment of all LEPs. In November 2016, engineering consultancy company Eurico Ferreira Portugal, a subsidiary of Portugal-based Proef Group, opened an office in the region. One-hundred jobs were created in Newbury and the investment totalled £3m ($3.86m).

South East Midlands was the UK’s third highest ranking LEP (rising from sixth position in 2016/17), also topping the ranking of LEPs for Connectivity and ranking third for Business Friendliness. Six international airports serve more than 330 international destinations, making the region extremely accessible for investors.

In establishing a new business centre in Aylesbury in the south of the region, US-based Regus hailed the LEP as a “well-connected base” for its business. There are nearly 345 transportation companies per 100,000 people in the LEP, including DHL Supply Chain, which expanded its packaging plant in Banbury in January 2017, and US-based Amazon, whose new fulfilment centre was established in Daventry in October 2016. The LEP is home to more than 13,200 companies in the knowledge-based sector, which includes hi-tech services and manufacturing companies, accounting for 9.2% of the total companies in the LEP.

The leading of Liverpool

Liverpool City Region has been named top LEP for FDI Strategy. Invest Liverpool takes the lead in attracting investors to the Liverpool City Region LEP, and according to data from fDi Markets an estimated $226.4m was invested by foreign companies into the LEP in 2017.

Almost half of this total was invested in manufacturing projects, including a £130m investment from India-based conglomerate Tata Group in its automotive factory in Liverpool and France-based Veolia Environnement, which announced a £10m investment in its St Helens manufacturing facility. 

The agency offers supply chain support to investors, hosting regular ‘meet the buyer’ events aimed at connecting businesses with local supply chains. Invest Liverpool also arranges sector-specific events to help generate contacts. An LCR 4.0 initiative, supported by Liverpool LEP and local universities among others, helps SMEs with support in research and knowledge transfer to succeed in Industry 4.0 technologies.

Click on the link below for a PDF version of the complete results: 

This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
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