Ian Harrison joins from his latest role as Assistant Director for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in the East Midlands, where he has been instrumental in shaping local economic growth and ensuring support is in place to deliver jobs throughout the region.
Born in Nottingham Ian has lived in the area for over 35 years and brings vast specialist business support experience, which spans over 20 years, to the position.
Now charged with maintaining and increasing the enormous export growth for the region – the second highest in the country, Ian said:
“The East Midlands is an exporting powerhouse and we expect to export more than ever this year"
“The challenge for me lies with increasing the number of companies across the region exporting to meet the national target of getting 100,000 more companies exporting by 2020.”
“Having worked to support businesses across the East Midlands for the last 16 years I am more than well aware of the huge number of innovative and successful firms that are based here, and will be focusing my efforts on converting successful companies into successful exporters."
“It’s a big challenge, but I strongly believe that exporting is how we are going to continue to promote the growth of the local economy.”
Mr Harrison was Assistant Director of BIS Local from 2011 to 2013. During this time he was responsible for BIS’s local growth policy objectives, provided BIS frontline capability to coordinate responses to economic opportunities and shocks, such as working with the Bombardier Task Force, and helping businesses access core funding programmes, like the Department's Regional Growth Fund and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiatives.
Prior to this role Ian was the Head of Business Support and Enterprise Policy for ex-RDA emda between 2007 and 2011, developing new policy programmes such as High Growth Business Coaching , the e-business programme and coordinating the Manufacturing Advisory Service nationally for the forerunner of BIS, the then Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. He also managed a portfolio of business support projects such as the Business Mentoring programme , the largest Princes Youth Business Trust Business programme in England, and the Business Support Simplification Programme. He led the region's response to supporting businesses through the economic shock of 2007.
“I have worked closely with the region’s businesses for a number of years and recognise the challenges and issues faced by firms in the global economy"
“A key focus for me now will be exploring how we can encourage firms to embrace emerging markets. While the EU is still the East Midland’s biggest market, growth will come from places like Vietnam, India and Russia. And that’s what I’m here to help with – ensuring firms in the region have the support necessary to embrace this. Of course China is our third largest export market, and there’s no doubt about it – exports are good news in the East Midlands, but we need to push ahead and get our share of some of the more lucrative markets"
“Our region has many strong successful sectors – from rail to bioscience to aerospace and I intend to ensure every business in the region is in line for a share of global contracts.”
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