City is open for business

A PLAN to attract hundreds of millions of pounds of inward investment to Glasgow will be led by a team of specialists.

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The city's universities provide inward-investors with a highly-skilled workforce
The city's universities provide inward-investors with a highly-skilled workforce

Council bosses believe the 2014 Commonwealth Games will provide the city with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attract new businesses.

To raise city's profile, a specialist team is being appointed to drive home the message that Glasgow is ready for business.

It will be headed by a business relationship manager who will be the first point of contact for investors.

The team will focus on boosting investment and jobs in the key sectors of low carbon industries, engineering, design and manufacturing, life sciences, financial and business services, tourism and events.

But support will also be available to other sectors, including the creative industries, higher and further education and retail.

The key priority for the team will be handling all enquiries from companies considering moving to Glasgow.

It will also identify and target new ways of raising the city's international profile.

And it will work with existing businesses, to ensure they remain in the city and, if possible, expand.

City bosses say they will guarantee investors a gold standard service which will also involve fast tracking major planning applications and providing tailored property searches.

Glasgow is competing for inward investment in a global market, but council bosses say the city has a number of important elements which make it attractive to firms looking to expand.

A recent report by accountants Ernst and Young said the key factors which encourage organisations to relocate include; quality of life, culture and language, a stable political environment and access to technology and infrastructure.

But by far the most important factor is a skilled local workforce.

Liz Cameron, the city council's executive spokeswoman for jobs and the economy, said: "With three world class universities, the School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire, investors have ready access to a healthy pipeline of highly qualified graduates.

"This is complemented by a large network of further education colleges catering for a wide range of vocations and skills."

The city can also boast the Commonwealth Modern Apprenticeship Initiative, the Commonwealth Jobs Fund and the Commonwealth Graduate Fund which offer a 50% wage subsidy to city businesses.

Mrs Cameron said: "These initiatives provide a real incentive to take on the city's young, fresh talent for careers within our key sectors.

"As with London and the 2012 Olympics, Glasgow has a once in a lifetime opportunity to capitalise on the hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 to attract investors."

The council believes it will be important for the new team to develop positive messages about the city and to underscore its reputation as a world leader in renewable energy, engineering and life sciences.

Glasgow has a solid platform on which to build with a list of global companies having already set up in the city.

These include Barclays Wealth, Dell, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, O2 and Tesco Bank.

Mrs Cameron added: "Despite the global economic downturn, Glasgow has continued to attract an impressive list of new arrivals.

"One of the latest announcements has been the proposed investment from ScottishPower, which has confirmed plans to develop a new 14-storey HQ on the corner of St Vincent Street and India Street."

It will house 1500 employees and will support the company's growth in the UK.

Mrs Cameron said: "The business relationship team will deliver a critical service on behalf of Glasgow City Council and its partners."

The team's activities will be monitored to check on the number of companies brought to the city, the value of confirmed private sector inward investment, the number of jobs planned, secured and saved, the commercial property developed and the number of events delivered and attended.

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Business

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