New Anglia chairman Andy Wood sets out his shopping list for business

Businesses are to get the first chance to hear what New Anglia is all about at its first major event at the newly opened Apex in Bury St Edmunds on September 15.

The Open for Business event, which is sponsored by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Birketts LLP, will feature a keynote address from chairman Andy Wood as well as an address from Jerome Mayhew, managing director of Go-Ape, based in Thetford Forest.

The session, which is likely to attract 250 delegates, is an integral part of a programme of New Anglia business events in the same week, which also includes EAME 11, its advanced engineering and manufacturing group's annual exhibition.

But what is on the New Anglia shopping list?

On paper the goals are much more concrete, focused on promoting the engineering sector; tourism, of which an announcement is imminent; securing better broadband; and then, further along the line, the agri-industries including food-and-drink, and the creative industries.

'What New Anglia can also do is bring people together,' Mr Wood said. 'We will give some support, but I refer to it in short-hand as a neighbourhood watch. We have got people together to realise their creativity and support them in doing that.

'There are 60,000 businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be able to talk to them individually. But I have a job to do as well and we are trying to do that online via our website.

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'We will get challenged,' he added. 'One of the things we are going to try and have is 'set piece' events. The Lep needs to be accountable to the economic drivers of Norfolk and Suffolk, that's the business community.

'We expect to get asked questions on what we are doing and how we are doing it. The one in Bury is a half year event, and we expect to have a full-year event as well.

'I think that's right and proper and it's right and proper that we are held to account on that.'

Click on the audio to hear more about the New Anglia shopping list.