Business Predictions 2018: Martin Freeman, Chairman, Invest East Midlands

Martin Freeman, Chairman at Invest East Midlands

Continuing our series – in which Business Link Magazine invites business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead – Martin Freeman, Chairman of Invest East Midlands, offers his thoughts on what 2018.

Looking forward to 2018 – but is that with fear and anxiety or real excitement ?  

When thinking about your business aspirations through 2018 the best advice I can give you is enjoy great editorial in newspapers & magazines but simply don’t read the news!

Traditionally news via the media has been a key indicator of business expectation and provider of strategy. In 2018, false or otherwise the news is likely to have you shaking in your boots at the prospect of any opportunity to build a profitable business. The “will they wont they of politics”, the in and outs of Brexit, the turmoil of stocks and share prices, ups and downs of the pound, trade deals, no trade deals etc will all have you shaking your head in total bemusement with no expectation that any business will be able to prosper!

Forget it yes they will! As chairman of Invest East Midlands I know from the feedback of our  partners that not only do we have enough investment in place now to see us through 2018 but with a fair wind well into the 2020’s too.

I acknowledge prudence of the economy has reflected in reduced income for the majority of real people and with the current inflation forecast through 2018 any immediate change is unlikely. However, I expect to see improvement with this by the end of the year as the impact of “new” jobs delivered through the widespread successful investment we continue to see in the Region.

Investment into to the East Midlands is so successful is because it is so diverse. Yes we do see inward investment from overseas but to be fair completely new investment is highly competitive and winning a new Toyota or Capital One with strong competition from the big “City regions” is not an everyday expectation. Our current success with foreign investment comes from new investment into our already located overseas owned companies and successful job retaining buyouts like the recent fortune of Weetabix. Strong indigenous investment from companies relocating from elsewhere in the UK remains at the heart of our recent success along with the increased developer interest in delivering both new homes & retail and commercial property.

Through 2018 & beyond, the East Midlands remains a great region to work, live and play, delivering both good value and impressive return on capital invested.