Published: 23 October 2023

Centre for Britain and Europe (CBE) Inward Investment and Growth Workshop: 2nd November, 2023

Surrey presents itself as one of the most affluent counties in the UK and ripe with opportunities to establish business given its high socioeconomic standing. Despite its strengths in productive businesses, an educated and skilled workforce, and innovative industries, it faces challenges related to Brexit, changing work patterns, economic uncertainty, and an ageing population.

The investment activities in Surrey have not taken advantage of these strengths which are exemplified in the focus on the establishment of manufacturing and finance businesses rather than services, while the inward foreign direct investment (FDI) primarily goes to manufacturing and transport sectors.

Issues are further compounded by the dissolution of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Brexit, further impacting the region's ability to attract investment. Surrey's business clusters have potential, but investment is concentrated in major towns. To maximise investment opportunities, a unified approach to investment and cluster development is needed, with collaboration between Surrey districts and boroughs. Through strategic realignment and management of inward investment, these entities hold a significant role in revitalising and encouraging investment in the country. Innovative clusters such as Green Tech, Gaming, Cyber, Lifesciences, Space, and AI present a very much untapped potential for the region that could further spur FDI in Surrey. 

With its cross-disciplinary experts, the Centre for Britain and Europe (CBE) is in the midst of pioneering cutting-edge work on inward investment and growth across Surrey. Led by the founder of CBE Professor Amelia Hadfield who heads the University of Surrey’s Politics Department, CBE works extensively with Surrey County Council, and inputs from local governments and businesses. Local businesses are among the most important entities in the strategic realignment of country investment as they retain not only vital knowledge and expertise of their respective sectors and locality, but also represent the pillars of the Surrey economic community. Meanwhile, local stakeholders within the Surrey County and borough councils are invaluable in their role in stimulating economic growth through strategic shifts in the local economic policy. 

CBE continues to engage with the local entities in establishing a comprehensive overview of Surrey’s home-grown inward investment climate and assets (i.e., commercial space and property, clusters, business incubators and catapults, green spaces and tech, town partnerships and high street redevelopment, etc.). This, therefore, frames the impetus for the Business Surrey Workshop on 2nd November at the University of Surrey. CBE will bring together voices of some of the most prominent businesses and local governments in Surrey which include Deyton Bell, Zabardast, Amazon, McLaren, GT3 Architects, MHA, Department for Business and Trade, and Surrey County Council. By bringing together these esteemed organisations, CBE aims to promote a great opportunity for a holistic dialogue that will help shape the future of Surrey's inward investment strategies and foster the county's continued economic growth. The workshop promises to be a dynamic and informative event, providing a forum for valuable contributions and thought leadership in the field of inward investment within Surrey.

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