Investment and collaboration are key to growth, say business leaders

Jan 11, 2019

The recommendations were drawn following a discussion on the future of Milton Keynes at Grant Thornton’s 2018 Buckinghamshire Limited event when the financial and business advisers unveiled the results of its annual analysis of the 100 top performing businesses in the county.

This year’s study found firms continue to prosper with increases in turnover, profitability and employment.

Following the results presentation, local business leaders engaged in a wide ranging conversation led by guest speaker Martin Tugwell from England’s Economic Heartland, centred around the opportunities and challenges facing Milton Keynes. 

A key theme which emerged was the need to maximise the potential of planned government  investment in the region. In particular, the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor which will help to stimulate further economic growth but will need the support of businesses to succeed.

Grant Thornton partner Giles Mullins, who led Buckinghamshire Limited 2018, said: “Milton Keynes has been identified as the second fastest growing area of the UK behind Cambridge – but there is still so much more that can be achieved.

"All parts of the economy need to work together from private and public businesses, third sector to education to create impactful progress which is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Alongside infrastructure improvements and collaboration, local firms also highlighted the importance of improving digital connectivity to ensure certain parts of the economy aren’t left behind.

With the emergence of new technologies disrupting the status quo across many sectors from consumer retail to industrial manufacturing, it’s vital that local business keep up to speed to stay ahead of the curve.

However, businesses acknowledged UK-wide skills shortages could increasingly become a significant barrier to growth as firms continue to struggle to recruit the talent they need to drive forward and adapt in constantly evolving markets.
A particular focus was on how businesses can invest in upskilling their existing workforces and develop talent from within to ensure they have teams in place with the skills needed for future success.
Mr Mullins said: “People will continue to be the most important asset for any organisation but in a rapidly changing environment, they may not currently have the necessary skills which will be required in five years’ time.
"Undoubtedly digital skills will play a big role but so will softer skills such as creativity and innovation which are vital to growth but aren’t always measurable through traditional academic qualifications.
“Milton Keynes is renowned for its business opportunities but we can’t rest on our laurels. We need to keep pushing the boundaries and work together to seize new opportunities as they arise to shape a more vibrant, progressive economy.”

The recommendations were drawn following a
discussion on the future of Milton Keynes at Grant Thornton’s 2018
Buckinghamshire Limited event when the financial and business advisers
unveiled the results of its annual analysis of the 100 top performing
businesses in the county. This year’s study found firms continue to prosper
with increases in turnover, profitability and employment.

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