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In conversation: Ammar Mirza CBE discusses why its important to have a plan

We caught up with Board member, Ammar Mirza CBE, who discussed the Strategic Economic Plan and why its important to set goals:

Without a plan you can’t have a goal.

Without a goal you cannot score.

The most successful people in the world have a clear vision of where they are going and a map on how they are going to get there. Having worked now with hundreds of start-ups and even more existing businesses, the ones’ that are the most successful have a business plan that they can share and have a singled minded focus on realising their goals and objectives from this plan.

I am pleased to say that, as a public and private partnership body responsible for providing strategic economic leadership in Northumberland, Durham, and Tyne and Wear – we have a plan. The Strategic Economic Plan(SEP) was first published in 2014 and since then the economy has changed, so over the past year a refresh of the plan has taken place and earlier this month the refreshed plan launched.

The SEP defines a clear vision that aims to help create 100,000 new and better jobs by 2024 and to ensure that 60% of these jobs are better jobs. A better skilled role is defined as one which offers higher skilled, more productive and better quality opportunities to more people in our area.

Since 2014 over 53,700 new jobs have been created within our region of which 33,900 (63%) are better. These figures highlight the positive impact of having a plan and focusing doggedly on delivering that plan.

Recognising the challenges within a dynamic economy and the uncertainty that Brexit could bring are key. As such the revised plan focuses on creating an inclusive economy improving innovation, tackling skills shortages, enhancing business support through the likes of the Growth Hub, recognising the aging population, investing in digital alongside improving overall infrastructure.

Without partners and working in collaboration, the LEP would not be able to deliver the plan. With limited resources the LEP is wholly dependent upon people coming together to help strengthen the economy and address weaknesses through a range of cohesive activities and programmes. In fact the growth of our region, reduction in unemployment and improvement in job opportunities has to be attributed to everyone within the whole community.

Every single member of the community has a role to play, and I am really pleased to say that everyone I speak to is both interested in hearing about the plan, but even more importantly understanding how they can get involved. On my weekly radio show every Friday between 9-11am on Spice FM, we have a mission to help better communicate, collaborate and celebrate within our region. Co-hosted by Jalf Ali, we regularly discuss the Strategic Economic Plan so that people from diverse communities get to understand our ambitious vision for the region.

The simple, yet challenging targets of creating “more and better jobs” enables everyone within the community to get behind a plan with a single focus of improving our economy, helping realise and raise ambitions and aspirations.

We have a plan and a clear goal, so let’s get out there and score.

Ammar Mirza CBE- Chairman and Founder of Asian Business Connexions.