This time last week I was preparing to head up to Newcastle for the Northern Powerhouse business summit where I took part in a discussion on how the North can deliver on the industrial strategy grand challenge of Ageing an,d where the NHSA was able to launch new data on the growth of the North of England’s life science sector.
The summit demonstrates how the North can, when it wants to, bring the very best of its industrial leaders, local government agencies, academic superstars and elected Mayors together to discuss how we can best leverage the potential of the Northern Powerhouse for the benefit of the North and ultimately UK.
The event was backed by the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and her Majesty‘s Government which ensured it had the appropriate national profile and attached the right speakers such as Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. As well as a political statement it was also a timely reminder the true value of the Northern Powerhouse is in the North of England’s ability to collaborate on sale. The region is a powerhouse when it becomes more than the sum of its parts.
Brilliant as it was, we cannot rely on one-off events for the North to deliver on its collaborative potential. We need to be working at scale every day ensuring collaboration becomes part of everything we do. This is why organisations like the N8 and the NHSA are important in bringing people are together for a common cause. The N8 and the NHSA used the summit to renew our existing five-year partnership to enable us to continue to deliver opportunities for collaboration and growth across the North.
Similarly in transport, Transport for the North plays a vital role in the future of how our great northern cities can become a mega-cluster through closer connectivity. It was therefore significant that Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse Minister announced the formal collaboration of the 11 local enterprise partnership’s to enable the North to be to speak with one voice through the new N11.
For me the real highlight was the opportunity I had to join forces with another pan-Northern organisation – Northern Power Women. I was delighted to be able to meet Simone Roche MBE for the first time founder of Northern Power Women. They are another critical pan-northern organisation supporting a cause that will be instrumental to support and nurture the next generation of female leaders. Earlier this year the NHSA learnt firsthand the power of this voice when Hannah our Head of External affairs let the hashtag #NorthInnovationWomen out into the wild. We were overwhelmed by the response, it allowed us to, at least by Twitter map for the first time many of the North’s female life science superstars from academia, the NHS and industry.
Yesterday less than a week on from the summit Simone and I met in a noisy cafe in London to discuss how the NHSA and Northern Power Women can work more closely together to support each other in running events, providing content and to help enable the North to speak with one voice – nationally and internationally.
For those of you who have met Simone, you will know that she is a force of nature and within an hour of meeting we had a list of opportunities and projects that we would be able to work on together. The challenge was not in finding an area of mutual interest, the challenge will be finding the time and resource to make all of these exciting projects happen. If you want to find more about Northern Power Women please do check out their website and follow them on Twitter @NorthPowerWomen, they are doing great work with all ages, from school children all the way through to coaching and mentoring senior leaders.
For me however it was a timely reminder of how important it is for the pan-northern organisations to work together to ensure that the lofty ambitions and powerful vision set out of the business summit are actually delivered from day today across the North.
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