Opportunity Peterborough celebrates Enterprising Britain awards success

Economic development company Opportunity Peterborough has been highly commended in the Enterprising Britain awards for its unique approach that has transformed the confidence of the city.

Opportunity Peterborough was singled out for combining traditional economic development mechanisms with innovative, integrated initiatives which has seen the local business environment flourish. In the Improving the Business Environment category, Opportunity Peterborough narrowly missed out to overall winner Birmingham City Council.

The awards, celebrating local initiatives which boost business and growth, were announced on Saturday (SEPT 24) by Small Business Minister Margot James on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Chief Executive of Opportunity Peterborough Steve Bowyer said: “This recognition is great for Opportunity Peterborough and, more importantly, great for the city. Our core work of supporting businesses to grow and attracting new investment to the city are enhanced by our other initiatives such as innovation support through our Smart Cities work and of course The Skills Service.

“Our approach is only successful because all of the strands lead to one clear, stated and unequivocal goal: the economic growth of Peterborough to lead to its ever-growing prosperity.

“Opportunity Peterborough as an organisation can’t make businesses be successful; but we can help create the right environment for firms to flourish. Our work to grow the economic confidence of Peterborough is paying dividends – from all the new restaurants setting up around Cathedral Square, to the new manufacturers coming to the city, and our existing companies staying and flourishing.”

Judges were impressed by the breadth of Opportunity Peterborough’s reach and its willingness to explore any area that may drive economic development, while providing a single point of contact to businesses, from supporting high-growth companies to facilitating start-ups, driving innovations via Peterborough DNA’s Smart City initiative, or establishing the Bondholder Network and sectoral clusters.

Judge Derek Kozel, Director of Development at Investment In Young People, said: “A key aspect of Opportunity Peterborough’s work was the total wrap around package of support that the project supplies, both in terms of client groups as well as the information and facilities provided, which with Opportunity Peterborough’s entrepreneurial drive in identifying new opportunities and the willingness to take on board comments from past users to shape current activity, helped make this project stand out.”

Small Business Minister Margot James said: “These awards recognise the value of local support and show what can be achieved when people who know their community best make their own decisions.”


Opportunity Peterborough initiatives in 2015/2016

  • 1,000+ new jobs created by new investment such as TRB-Seisenbacher’s new manufacturing operation, House of Fraser’s distribution centre, DNV GL’s new centre of excellence, as well as various retail outlets in the city centre
  • Revamped Peterborough Bondholder Network connecting more than 220 businesses
  • Supported more than 400 young entrepreneurs including helping 59 unemployed people to set up their own businesses via Ignite Peterborough
  • Local business growth resulting in Peterborough ranking second in the UK for private sector jobs growth (Centre for Cities) and unemployment figures reducing from almost 4% in January 2014 to 1.3% in January 2016
  • United 19,000 young people with 360 businesses to develop employability skills via The Skills Service
  • Enabled 416 innovation business submissions via the Water Innovation Network (806 members), generating £1million in efficiency savings for Anglian Water
  • Driven the development of innovative ways of solving city challenges via Peterborough DNA, resulting in Peterborough being named as World Smart City of the Year 2015
  • Increased confidence resulting in 60% of firms expecting continued improvement in profitability and 45% expecting to invest in more staff/capital projects (2016 Greater Peterborough Business Survey)
  • Secured £1.32 million grant funding to support projects to help grow the rural economy in Peterborough and Rutland via the LEADER project
  • Supported the development of office space for business incubation and conferencing at the Eco-Innovation Centre and Future Business Centre
  • Supported Peterborough to become the UK’s first Gigabit City via the Peterborough CORE initiative to connect city businesses with Gigabit-speed broadband