Looking ahead – Jeremy Long, Chair

Looking ahead – Jeremy Long, Chair

On behalf of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, I would like to thank you for taking the time to explore this year's annual report, reviewing our impact during the 2020/2021 financial year.

As has been reflected throughout this digital publication, the past 12 months has brought great challenges to businesses of all sizes. Very few organisations have been immune to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and – given this backdrop – I have been extremely proud of the role our team has played in supporting thousands of Oxfordshire businesses.

We have responded at genuine pace to the pandemic, administering both financial and tailored support for sustained periods of time, adapting our delivery to what our business community has told us and demanded of us.

In addition, our ability to bring the public and private sectors together – building upon relationships nurtured over the past decade – has helped to leverage major investment (now standing at around £1bn since our launch in 2011), including in projects vital in supporting a cleaner, more sustainable future for us all, as well as financial backing for our sadly much-scarred high streets through the ‘Meanwhile in Oxfordshire’ scheme.

Having a business-led response to recover and rebuild the UK economy has been and remains critical. As a local enterprise partnership, underpinned by significant business-led relationships, we are committed to this moving forward for the benefit of not only our local communities, but for the national economy too.

I commented 12 months’ ago that our innovation ecosystem was critical for a future, globally-facing UK economy. This absolutely remains the case and – if this was ever in-doubt – then the speed in which our ecosystem was harnessed to create the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is evidence of Oxfordshire’s ability to provide solutions for the future.

It's this innovation – underpinned by a landscape that embraces entrepreneurship – that means our economy can compete on a global stage for talent, trade and investment. We understand the responsibility which Oxfordshire has to the success of the wider UK economy and we are committed to playing a leading role in delivering this through our own role and as a business voice within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. 

We will continue to back our Local Industrial Strategy’s aim for Oxfordshire to be one of the top-three innovation hubs in the world by 2040: a playground for innovators and the location of choice for those ready to change the world with new and radical ideas. This unrivalled ambition is exactly the driving force needed at this critical, economic time.

At this vital juncture, we are committed to providing the best support possible to our many businesses, helping them to find new opportunities and connecting them with the best possible talent, as well as creating considerable platforms for our world-class sectors too.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Jeremy Long