Inward Investment just the "tip of the iceberg" - Sir Nigel Knowles
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Sir Nigel Knowles

Inward Investment just the "tip of the iceberg" - Sir Nigel Knowles

Inward investment from car maker McLaren and aviation giant Boeing is just the "tip of the iceberg" for Sheffield City Region, according to Sir Nigel Knowles, special adviser to mayor Dan Jarvis.

Speaking to Insider this morning at MIPIM, Sir Nigel said the moves into Sheffield's advanced manufacturing sector were backed up by an ongoing pipeline of about ten companies at any one time and a raft of supply chain businesses setting up shop in the cluster.

Sheffield is at MIPIM in Cannes setting out its vision for a Global Innovation Corridor aimed at building on its manufacturing heritage and removing any barriers for growth.

"It does not need to be defined by geography, it can expand south towards Chesterfield and stretch towards Doncaster-Sheffield Airport, which has the third largest runway in Europe and loads of land that can be developed around it," Sir Nigel said.

He added that he was "not aware of any region in the UK that is equipped to achieve what we are trying to achieve".

"We've got the universities, the land and the skilled labour. I would never say anything is unique, but when McLaren was looking to relocate, they had the whole world to look at, but chose Sheffield."

The Global Innovation Corridor will link assets including Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, the University of Sheffield’s Manufacturing Research Centre and Sheffield Hallam's Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre.

Sir Nigel said a focus on manufacturing and digital technology, also supported by the likes of Rolls Royce and US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, offered something of an antidote in the face of Brexit.

"There is no doubt a lot of decision makers have put investment decisions on hold, but it doesn't affect the fundamentals of a place where global players want to be; we have still seen a lot of interest.

"We don't want it to be limited, I can see more and more global players coming to Sheffield."


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