Professor Kamil Omoteso, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University, explains how Derby and Derbyshire have significant strength and diversity in business.
While technology and globalisation remain the two most significant factors impacting on the business world over the last few decades, the last two years have witnessed an unprecedented level of uncertainty as Brexit continues to shape the political-economic landscape of the UK. Both entrepreneurs and business leaders are lobbying and watching keenly what this last leg of the UK government’s negotiation with the EU will produce while assessing the likely impact the alternative outcomes may have on their businesses – large, medium, small or micro.
Due to the level of uncertainty regarding trade and the supply of skilled labour, the last year has witnessed cautious investment decisions, tighter organisational structures, risk management regimes and resource efficiency interventions among businesses within the UK in general and Derbyshire in particular.
Focusing on a county that employs over 290,000 people working predominantly in manufacturing, metals and metal products, and food and drink, education, retail and health sectors, the Top 200 list which we have published this week reveals significant strength and diversity in activity for companies spread across the region. Derbyshire is home to nearly 30,000 businesses. The county’s economy is estimated to worth £14.9 billion and has shown strong levels of growth over recent years.
The county remains one of the strongest counties in England in terms of forging collaborations between the private and the public sectors to drive regional regeneration, economic development and social mobility and cohesion. These collaborations have ensured that our businesses remain competitive and employment rate within the region does not nosedive. The county has an employment rate of 79%, higher than the England rate of 75%, and, over the next 15 years, Derbyshire’s employment levels are forecast to increase by around 3%.
Businesses in the region and beyond, continue to look for stability, with incremental, rather than step change. Certainty around government and economic policy going forward is crucial in providing a greater degree of assurance to business and consumers, permitting better and more accurate business planning and forecasting, increasing business confidence about future conditions, which in turn leads to investment. Business confidence in the region appears good and could be strengthened throughout the financial cycle, provided there are no adverse shocks, arising from Brexit or other significant political or fiscal matters.
Top 200 businesses in the region
The Top 200 companies are to be congratulated for achieving their position in the listing at such a time of uncertainty. Trading conditions for all business remain very competitive and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future depending on the potential impact of Brexit’s final outcomes. The real challenge for these companies going forward will be maintaining and improving their market share.
This challenge will require companies to remain competitive in their pricing, particularly at a time of rising inflation, cost pressure on earnings and challenges over currency valuation, leading to cheaper exports, but more expensive imports. This combination could provide some downward pressure on profit margins in certain sectors. Turnover will provide useful insight into how successful our Top 200 companies have been in achieving this.
The listing should provide interesting reading for those companies who are considering relocating to the D2N2 region, as it suggests that economic conditions in the region are healthy. It provides an opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to boost their alliances and networks within Derbyshire and to improve their local marketing, supply chain and business operations with a view to enhancing their efficiency.
The diversity of companies operating successfully within the region also point to a good supply of diverse skills within the local labour market, which is so valuable to any business. This, coupled with the national success of many of these companies, suggests that Derby and Derbyshire offer an attractive environment for business success.