New group aims to grow business in the region

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TOURISM and small businesses in and around Bury St Edmunds will play a crucial role in the new Local Enterprise Partnership, which was given official Government recognition last week.

New Anglia is the newly formed organisation representing businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk which replaces the defunct East of England Development Agency.

Its aim is to create the right conditions for business and growth, tackle issues such as planning, housing, infrastructure, enterprise and employment.

It also expects to support small business and start-ups and help move towards a low carbon economy

The organisation says challenges it faces include below-average skills levels, inadequate infrastructure, utilities, road, rail and broadband services. There is a below average number of new business start-ups and the two counties have areas of high deprivation and high levels of public sector employment.

New Anglia will focus on growing jobs in Norfolk and Suffolk and sees West Suffolk and Bury St Edmunds as playing a pivotal role in expanding tourism, small business and engineering.

Emma Finn, communications transition officer for New Anglia, said: “Some of the key sectors are tourism, which is very relative to Bury and which generates a huge amount of money – £2.5 billion. It employs a lot of people, many of them seasonally. We want to extend that tourism period further. There are also opportunities for the 2012 Olympics.

“There is an enormous amount of small businesses here in the two counties and if we can help businesses to help themselves grow that will fuel the economy.”

Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams, is the new chairman.

In September a business week will be running in Bury at The Apex, including the Bury Free Press-sponsored Business to Business exhibition.