EY is proud to be part of the thriving business community in Southampton, with our research predicting strong economic performance and growth leading up to 2020, writes David Hales, EY’s office managing partner, Southampton.
However, the future brings many challenges, not least with the uncertainty around Brexit. It is a crucial time for everyone – business, government and people – to understand the options available to us and the opportunities that follow to ensure that the south continues to benefit from its unique nature and to maximise the economic potential of the region.
EY recognises the rich diversity of the South Coast and is committed to the success of the region by playing an active role within the local business community. This is reflected in our Economics for Business programme that supports the region’s changing economic landscape. EY’s Regional Economic Forecast predicts that Southampton’s economy will grow by 1.9% Gross Value Added (GVA) until 2020 – outperforming the UK’s average growth of 1.8%. Furthermore, according to EY’s UK Attractiveness Survey, Southampton has seen a handful of sizeable and significant investments, attracting five foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in 2017 that resulted in hundreds of jobs for the local area.
It’s positive that the strong economic performance of Southampton is expected to continue in the coming years. However, to ensure these growth forecasts become a reality, I believe the region needs to focus on three key drivers to accelerate growth: Firstly, businesses will have to take the lead in attracting and retaining talent. Having access to the necessary talent pool, will be crucial to that. Secondly, investment in infrastructure is needed to support business growth, including roads, public transport and the region’s connectivity via faster broadband. Thirdly, we have an opportunity to enhance and sustain a culture of collaboration between large businesses and start-ups to deliver further innovation.
At EY, our teams work with a diverse range of businesses across the South Coast, from boat builders and aerospace engineers, defence firms and fast growth tech companies to entrepreneur-led businesses. Our focus is on providing strategic advice to help our clients achieve their growth ambitions, which in turn help boost growth, innovation and productivity across the region.