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CBI push to drive greater business innovation and raise living standards

Date published: 11 October 2018


Business leaders from across North West, will gather to share ideas on how firms in region can best put the time and resources into business innovation to improve their performances and help drive economic, social and cultural development.

The CBI’s Innovation Conference will spell out to local businesses just how essential innovating as a business is to deliver economic growth in the North West and lift productivity. While there is great work being done across the UK, the broader picture is less rosy: investment in research and development (R&D) has stalled at around 1.7% of GDP for the last 30 years, falling well short of global averages (2.4%). There is a similar story on firms adopting technology, whether cutting-edge or day-to-day – in some areas, like content management systems, the UK are the equivalent of a decade behind Denmark.

The conference will set out the challenges, opportunities and solutions to get more North West firms innovating.

Speaking ahead of the event, Helen Gbormittah, CBI North West Deputy Regional Director, said: “Innovation can mean many different things to different businesses but there is a common thread: turning new ideas in to business growth. It is at the heart of economic, social and cultural development here in the North West and the rest of the UK.

“It drives productivity, raises living standards and helps to lay the foundations for tomorrow’s world. So, we must get more North West businesses innovating full stop.

“While the eyes of the business world can often be on ‘the next big thing’ in cutting-edge technology, too many firms are missing out.  Failing to adopt the nuts and bolts technologies of today is leaving a yawning gap in productivity and pay between businesses.

“The UK needs more ‘magpie’ firms with the skill and the will to find and adopt tried and trusted technologies and management practices that the best businesses showcase, and not get stuck in their ways. The impact could be a £100 billion plus uplift in the economy meaning more opportunities for people and communities across North West.

“The Government has rightly introduced a target to raise R&D spending, so now is the time to ensure they do just that in partnership with businesses.”

Simon King, Business Development Director at Freeths LLP, said: “Freeths are proud to sponsor the CBI North West Innovation Conference.  At Freeths we have worked proactively across all our offices in developing a culture of innovation to provide business solutions both internally and externally.

“Innovation and technology are integral in the way we deliver legal solutions to our clients helping reduce costs, increase efficiency and improving the customer journey.

“The North West has been a key focus for growth and development at Freeths. We are looking forward to helping support our clients to deliver their growth strategies through our freethinking approach to legal and business matters in delivering answers not options.”

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