Sheffield fuelled by foreign investment
Over the past few years, Sheffield City Region has experienced a surge in investment from foreign businesses.
The steel city, once known for its manufacturing prowess, has begun to forge a new identity and was recently rated the number one enterprise zone for modern manufacturing and technology in the UK by the Financial Times fDi magazine.
It’s therefore no surprise that Chinese investors have recognised the city’s potential. Last year a first-of-its-kind-outside-of-London deal was struck with Chinese manufacturing firm, Sichuan Guodong, securing £1bn of investment for major city centre development, with the agreement marking the pinnacle of a ‘golden era’ of Anglo-Chinese relations.
While this represents the biggest foreign investment deal in the region, it is in no way alone. Figures from The Department for International Trade indicate a massive 73% increase in foreign investment in the last financial year. This equates to 46 foreign businesses investing in the region, creating and safeguarding more than 2,300 jobs.
The top five projects by investment value were the £75m Hitatchi Maintenance facility in Doncaster, Ikea’s new £60m Sheffield facility, Rotherham’s £50m Mclaren site, Chesterfield’s £38m Ferdinand Bilstein distribution centre, and Amazon’s £20m site in Doncaster.
Further high-profile investments were also made by Boeing, Lidl and Aldi.
The region’s ability to attract investments of this scale by major brand names led the Prime Minister Theresa May to state that “the city’s reputation for cutting-edge technology and engineering clearly hasn’t been lost on International investors.”
But what is it about Sheffield that is so attractive?
Daniel Koseoglu, MD at Affecto said: “The city is a hotbed for economic growth, especially in the technology arena as companies harness the combination of the academic excellence of our two universities with a highly skilled workforce.
“With an outstanding pedigree in technology, IT and manufacturing, Sheffield is a fantastic destination whether you are a new company or an existing organisation and has proven itself to be a superb incubator for businesses large and small. Our own experience is of growing demand across all our areas of expertise which is mirrored in our own growth as we ensure we have the relevant experts in place to help support our customers’ ambitions.
“This surge in foreign investment will not only continue to fuel the innovation and expansion we are already seeing across the region but also underlines Sheffield’s position as a major player in the Northern Powerhouse.
“We are already seeing a boost to the IT and digital industries in the city. These investments are bound to push this further, marking Sheffield as a stand-out city for IT business and innovation.”