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Now in its twelfth year, Humber Business Week is a wonderful success story for our area, showing what can be achieved when so many different organisations come together.

This year I want to harness the drive and enthusiasm that exists throughout Business Week and use it to help answer one of the most important questions facing our economy: as the credibility of the Northern Powerhouse project grows, what do we want our place in the North to be and what do we need to do to get there?

In the spirit of Business Week – sharing the good, addressing the challenges and showcasing innovative ideas – we need to amplify the voice of business and celebrate and champion the key role the Humber plays in the Northern Powerhouse.

The Humber already plays a crucial part in the northern economy – without us, the lights would go out and some of the UK’s key trading links would be cut – but in the past we have undersold ourselves and our potential.  It’s time we put that right and talked about what more we could achieve by working together across the North.

This is why this Business Week we’re leading on a special event working with our Humber partners Andrew Jackson Solicitors, and Bondholders – the Humber Northern Powerhouse Business Summit – in addition to our AGM and Powerhouse breakfast, which are both being hosted at the University of Hull on Friday 10 June.

With speakers including Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council; John Cridland, Chair of Transport for the North; Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North; Andy Koss, CEO of Drax Power; Lord Prescott; Simon Bird, ABP Director Humber; and Anita Pace, Chair of Bondholders we will discuss themes essential to the success of the Northern Powerhouse such as transport and infrastructure, international trade and creating wealth.

As a national asset, the Humber Estuary and its businesses and organisations have a huge role to play and through this event our facilitator renowned business journalist Declan Curry will lead lively debate that looks to establish some key actions for the region to move forward with our northern partners.

Since the last Business Week we and our partners have made great progress delivering our Growth Deal, and we are looking forward to securing more Growth Deal funding this year that helps achieve the ambitions that will help drive the Humber economy.

We have seen a further extension of the Humber Enterprise Zone to include more than 40 sites at ports and close to motorways on both sides the Humber offering businesses great opportunities to invest and grow.

Hundreds of businesses have been supported through our Business Growth Hub and Growing the Humber programme – and we’ve recently seen one of the projects we supported being crowned Pier of the Year!

Our Powerhouse Breakfast on 10 June will be an opportunity to hear more about the progress the Humber is making together to realise the economic potential of the Energy Estuary.

Meanwhile our work to create a skilled and productive workforce continues apace with more than 270 contributors through our skills network, 26 businesses on our Recruiters’ Forum and 10 working groups driving forward the work of our Employment and Skills Board.

We are supporting a Skills Conference –  CIPD Humber’s Transforming the Humber – a great place for young people to live, learn and work – on Tuesday 7 June, which will include a speech from our Chief Executive Kishor Tailor and a workshop that continues our work on a joint approach to 50 + Employment and Talent Retention within the region.

We are pleased to once again sponsor Business Week, which provides an opportunity for all companies – no matter how big or small – to acquire new knowledge, gain better understanding and insights into key developments and to improve their networks.

Our board members and team will be at events throughout the week.  We are looking forward to talking to as many people as possible and hearing the strong voice of businesses in the Humber.

We hope to see you there.