As David Cameron wooed business in India, Surrey County Council was showcasing innovation to the world in a bid to help businesses win new investment.
A 20-strong party from across the world arrived in Surrey for a two-day ‘innovation tour’ at the same time as the Prime Minister began his trip to the booming subcontinent.
The group’s members – drawn from UK overseas missions in countries such as India, America, Australia, Japan, Germany and Italy – work to generate foreign investment by promoting UK excellence overseas.
Their visit came as new figures revealed that Surrey’s economy grew by 7% between 2009 and 2011 despite the national downturn.
That growth meant the county generated more than £30 billion annually for the UK economy and contributed more income taxation to the Exchequer than everywhere except the City of London.
Peter Martin, Surrey County Council’s deputy leader, said: “It’s fantastic that government officials from around the world are beating a path to invest in our hugely successful and innovative economy. Whilst we are encouraging businesses to come and invest in the county, the county council itself is investing in growth too.”
Examples of investment include:
- £25 million in roads over five years to give the local economy a boost when it needs it most
- £750,000 in creating 500 apprenticeships to give young people a leg up and help businesses thrive
- £10 million in raising school standards.
The representatives of the overseas missions visited Surrey Satellite Technology, which recently developed the world’s first satellite run by mobile phone, and the University of London’s Royal Holloway base to find out about its work to protect multi-nationals from cyber crime.
They also heard about the Surrey Research Park and businesses based there, including green power company TMO Renewables and medical technology firm Angle Technology. The group also heard about the University of Surrey’s centre for vision, speech and signal processing.
The tour was organised by the council on behalf of the Enterprise M3 local enterprise partnership, which was established to drive economic growth in Surrey and Hampshire.