Nigel Tipple believes businesses’ positive approach to innovation ensures the future Oxfordshire LIS will ‘avoid more of the same’ and nurture radical and transformational ideas
The chief executive of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) has said that businesses’ willingness to embrace innovation will mean the county’s upcoming Local Industrial Strategy will ‘avoid more of the same’.
Nigel Tipple believes the county’s business community’s ability to ‘incorporate innovation in their thinking’ will be key as OxLEP leads the development of an Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy – one of just three national ‘trailblazers’ backed by central government.
Mr Tipple’s comments come ahead of OxLEP’s latest Q&A event for Oxfordshire businesses, set to take place tomorrow (10 July) at the Kassam Stadium.
OxLEP will present its Local Industrial Strategy for Oxfordshire to government in early 2019.
It will be OxLEP’s third Q&A event of 2018 and will focus on: ‘How can Oxfordshire businesses make an impact – nationally and internationally – by embracing innovation?’.
Mr Tipple said: “Our ambition for the Local Industrial Strategy is to position Oxfordshire as one of the top-three global innovation ecosystems – embracing new ideas, ensuring that we avoid ‘more of the same’.”
In addition – earlier this year, Oxford University was named as the Times Higher Education number one-ranked university in the world, contributing £5.8billion to the UK economy generating more technology spin-outs than any other UK university.
Mr Tipple added: “As well as having key global assets like Oxford University and Science Vale, it’s also important that we support our SMEs to grow and feel comfortable being innovative – however great or minor this might be – as well as investing in innovation sectors with high growth potential.”
Mr Tipple also says that Oxfordshire’s ability to support small businesses to both survive and grow will be a major factor in ensuring the county creates an effective Local Industrial Strategy.
According to the Office of National Statistics, between 2010 and 2016, Oxford businesses grew – on average – by 20.1%, with half (48.6%) boasting a five-year survival rate during the same period, some of the highest rates anywhere in England and Wales.
Mr Tipple said: “The survival rate of small businesses in Oxford – and the wider county – suggests our business community is willing to be innovative to support their growth.
“Operating in such an optimistic environment is a major positive and – as we approach a significant period of growth in Oxfordshire – it’s important that our SMEs are actively-engaged and aware of how they can be innovative; not just to support their own growth, but also Oxfordshire’s continued emergence as a genuine global asset.”
As home to two of the UK’s 13 ‘unicorn’ ($1 billion) tech businesses – Oxford Nanopore and Milton Park-based Immunocore – Mr Tipple also believes the county’s track record of nurturing genuine innovation and taking it to a world-stage is something that can continue to be replicated.
Mr Tipple added: “The global success and growth of both Oxford Nanopore and Immunocore could be apportioned to their willingness to embrace innovation.
“As we move into a period of significant growth for the county – spearheaded by our Local Industrial Strategy – it’s this confidence that we need to continue to instil within our SMEs.”
Joining Nigel Tipple as panellists at the upcoming Q&A event will be; Emma Jones MBE – Founder of Enterprise Nation, Ian Nash – Area Director of Business Banking at HSBC and Dr Matt Perkins – CEO at Oxford University Innovation. Further panel members are set to be announced soon.
Mr Tipple also said: “Our Q&A events have been a real success and we hope next month’s debate will be of great benefit to our business leaders.”
Pictured: The recently-opened Oxford Foundry; the University of Oxford's new entrepreneurship centre.