In his recent speech to the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference, the BCC director general, John Longworth opened with the observation that the UK is a small country in a competitive world, but its flexibility and ability to change makes it a great place to do business.
The same could equally well apply to our region. Because, just like the UK as a whole, West Norfolk exists in a world of competition and change.
We are not the biggest ‘power’ and our place in the grand scheme of things has altered over time. Our commercial base has changed and competition for our products and services has increased rather than lessened.
To put us into further perspective, the 135,000 or so people who live here are a tiny percentage of the world’s population, and economically we represent a very small fraction of the whole country’s GDP.
But, to paraphrase Mr Longworth’s argument, in “an increasingly specialised world our size and circumstances are not a problem. They are an opportunity”. West Norfolk is a niche player it’s true, and we are in a global market of constant change.
However, let’s look at this positively. We are, to use his phrases about the UK, “fleet of foot, flexible, and open”.
Our demographic may have shifted over time, but it’s West Norfolk’s ability to embrace change and adapt to new market requirements that makes the region the dynamic force it is.
Our region has never ‘stood still’ when it comes to adapting to commercial changes.
We have been consistently pro-active in the development and growth of our businesses.
In fact, John Longworth’s points about the ‘state of the nation’ are extremely relevant to us as a region.
Innovative, commercially exciting and truly dynamic, West Norfolk is ‘a great place to do business in the world of the 21st century’.
Our challenge is to make sure that the rest of the country, and indeed the world, know it.