In a speech at its annual event last night, Opportunity North East (ONE)’s chairman Sir Ian Wood said a “transformational mindset” was needed to ensure the region makes the most of new opportunities in areas such as carbon capture and storage.
“As leaders we must be prepared to invest and take risks to achieve fast entry into the new markets and technologies,” he said.
“We have the skills to play a pivotal role in the transition to a region focused on lowering carbon emissions and must use our expertise to embrace opportunities in offshore wind, carbon capture and storage and hydrogen.”
In the past three years, ONE has committed £14 million of investment, which has leveraged a further £42m in match funding to boost sectors including digital, food, drink and agriculture, life sciences and tourism.
Wood highlighted projects it is involved in, including the new Aberdeen South Harbour and a potential Energy Transition Park.
“We’ve now developed a new ONE Tech Hub including our tie-up with CodeBase, and we’re looking hard at the potential for a major annual food festival and gourmet event to raise the profile of the region, a significant build-up in our fish and food processing activities, significant growth in adventure sports throughout the region, and fully exploiting the huge potential for the new exhibition and events centre Teca,” he added.
ONE’s chief executive Jennifer Craw said the organisation was now working with more than 500 companies across the region, “creating grass roots opportunities and delivering results that are building confidence in the economic future of our region”.
“Our sector boards continue to identify opportunities for growth and turn these into investment in transformational projects,” she said.
“We’re proud of what’s been achieved in the three years since ONE was formed. But there’s so much more to be done. We believe economic development works best when people come together and work in partnership towards common goals.”
With an investment commitment of £62m over ten years from the Wood Foundation, ONE aims to stimulate partnership working and co-investment to leverage a further £62m of match funding.