Space and aerospace projected into BusinessFestival line up as important economy drivers
With a National Space Centre; the National Centre for Earth Observation, the East Midlands Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications and plans afoot for a globally significant Space Park, the Leicester Business Festival is capitalising on the importance of the space and aerospace industries to the area.
Leicester’s space and aerospace industry is part of a midlands-wide cluster that is home to over one quarter of the UK aerospace industry, seven per cent of Europe's and three of the world's, employing over 45,000 full time equivalent jobs. Locally, the sector has over 100 enterprises, 3,000 jobs and contributes £186 million to the local GVA.
Leicester is rapidly becoming known for its strength in space and space technologies. Every year since 1967 a Leicester-built instrument has been utilised in space and the tradition continues with the BepiColombo1 launch in late October.
The use of space technologies applications developed here are part of modern day life from making a mobile call and watching television to using a sat. nav. or computer.
Space applications developed in Leicestershire also help other industries such as monitoring crops and forestry areas; air quality observation to help improve transport routes; urban planning and general health and much more.
Leicester is also home to the National Space Centre - the UK's only attraction dedicated to space. Next door, a £75 million ‘space park’ is in development which will provide a unique base for science, technology, space and space-enabled technology businesses, as well as a world class teaching and laboratory facilities for the space scientists of the future.
In a visit to Leicester earlier last month, International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade Dr Liam Fox MP endorsed plans for the Space Park as supporting the Government’s strategy to bring £40 billion from the space market to the UK.
Dr Grant Bourhill (pictured left) is chief executive officer for science parks at the University of Leicester and the Leicester Business Festival Space and Aerospace sector lead. He said, "Space is a substantial economic opportunity for the UK and the sector is booming, with productivity three times the national average and export more than one third of sales.
“Leicester and Leicestershire businesses are well positioned to capitalise on the sector’s direction and growth. Space Park Leicester, a partnership between the University, City, LLEP and National Space Centre, opens in Summer 2020 and will see industry co-located with the University of Leicester, who have the largest space-related group in the country. The Space Park will drive economic growth and attract and retain skilled workers, helping us deliver against National, regional and local strategies."
The Business Festival is a fantastic opportunity to reinforce Leicester’s position as a leading “Space City.” Significant events include an insight into the development opportunities at the Space Park; a discovery event showing businesses how they could benefit from using data from satellites to understand current and future markets or provide new and innovative goods and services; as well as a great event for SMEs in the sector looking at business growth and success tactics.
Dr Bourhill added, “The Leicester Business Festival provides an excellent platform for both existing and new space institutions to network, share information and identify new business opportunities and collaborative partnerships.
“A focus of the LBF in 2018 on the space sector is very timely. In addition to the UK Space Bill and recently announced UK Space Ports, the sector is a core foundation of the industrial strategy, the LLEP local industrial strategy prospectus and the Midlands Engine Vision for Growth with a Space Sector deal expected soon.
“The sector is set to grow substantially over the next ten years with Leicester well placed to capture many of the benefits.”
Business Festival events are free and open to anyone to attend, however, tickets must be booked in advance through the website www.leicesterbusinesssfestival.com or via the new LBF App, available to download from Google Play or the Apple store.
Along with headline partners, Leicester Castle Business School, the 2018 Festival has the support of well-known business organisations including East Midlands Chamber; LLEP Business Gateway; East Midlands Airport; Brewin Dolphin; University of Leicester School of Business; Highcross Leicester; Shakespeare Martineau; and the FSB.
Other supporters include Everards Brewery; De Montfort University; Pattersons Commercial Law; Growth Partners PLC and the Institute of Directors, as well as official app partner Infonote; AV media partner, The Presentation Group; Coffee partner, 200 degrees; and media partners, Cross Productions and Capital Radio.