An optimistic outlook for our city

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Derby city centre

What we learnt most from the Marketing Derby Business Live Talks is that our business community and public sector is fully unified on approaching bounce back with an optimism.

Listening in to Steve Hall, Chair of Derby Renaissance Board, on Thursday 9 June the drive to build our city back to be better, stronger, sustainable, and future proof is critical. We heard much that we, as a local business, makes us smile, brings us hope, gives us a sense of place with a purpose.

Essential projects and investments

The Derby Renaissance Board is an advisory board for the city centre delivering projects like the vital Becketwell redevelopment growth zone speedily. Cranes as our skyline is a view long held as progress for our city by many leaders. By working with providers like CityFibre who have kicked off a 5 year project to deliver a new network transforming Derby into one of the best digitally connected cities in the UK we can ensure long lasting economic benefit for years to come. With a vision of every street in the city whether it houses residents, businesses, hospitals, or any other organisation, without any exception, ensuring the digital gap is closed is one we can all get onboard with. CityFibre’s £45million investment will not only provide huge value to the city’s construction sector but more importantly help us come out of this crisis stronger and with our digital future secured.

A masterplan with a vibrant vision

Alongside investment the masterplan needs to change too; moving our city centre away from the weakly performing hospitality and retail bias it has today into a cultural centre. It is vital that acknowledging culture will make our city more attractive and vibrant (good news for us!). As a business community it is essential, we support, promote, and enhance our culture to ensure we help people make the choice to come into the city. By developing a showcase city for innovative and sustainable travel we will be sure to attract travellers in.

Emphasis on start-ups and scale-ups

No one can deny what Steve says “Too long we’ve been over-reliant on a few major businesses, and the events of the economic shocks in the business industries, such as Rolls Royce, means we need to look at new areas to focus on.” Truly committing to the D2N2 LEP initiative to develop low carbon technologies and be carbon neutral in our region is something to back. What is also nice is the full emphasis of supporting the city’s start up and scale up businesses. Backing from organisations like the University of Derby, who are committed to supporting SMEs in Derby with graduates and other programs like the Driven initiative, will ensure people feel more inclined to start a business or make plans to grow a small business.

Unified voice

We totally agree that it is important that Derby has a strong unified voice on our future. It’s fabulous to hear that our city leaders, like Steve and John Forkin are making sure this messaging reaches the government, striking a balance of the economic shocks on the city, and we’re still a city that can and should be invested in! Lobbying with a strong message and full business case by the existing strong partnerships of Marketing Derby, QUAD and the University of Derby will ensure all voices across the city are heard.

The underlying strength of the city is good and that we can build back better.  We will lend our voice to this because as Steve highlighted there’s already plenty going on to be proud of!

John’s summary from the talks given by Professor Kath Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor UOD; Donna Smith, Sales Director of Wavensmere Homes; Dominika Walker, City Manager of CityFibre and Steve Hall, Chair of Derby Renaissance Board gave much food for thought:

  • Everything has changed, nothing has changed – remind yourself of this
  • Digital shift – hardwired into our system, remote working learning and meetings are here to stay
  • At the heart of the strategy is people – students back into the city, diversifying our voice, a place for all people

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