Inward investment key to East’s prosperity

ENCOURAGING inward investment and retaining foreign companies should be a key priority for the East of England, experts say.

East of England Inward Investment, the EEDA-funded organisation responsible for attracting and retaining foreign investment in the region, wants to ensure that encouraging investment from overseas-owned companies remains a pivotal focus of the growth and recovery strategy for local economies.

“Since 2005, the East of England has welcomed 289 overseas-owned businesses to the region, including 31 in the first half of 2010,” said EEII’s Ann Wardle. “In spite of recent economic upheaval, there is still a healthy conversion from the pipeline of overseas-owned businesses looking to set-up or expand operations in the East of England.

“These investments have added significant value and made a strong impact on our local economy through the recession. We must ensure that it remains a focus, and we must aim to build on the already vital work done by our inward investment experts who have worked so hard.”

Ann Wardle, who is head of investor development at EEII added: “The economic climate is definitely on the change, but this region remains a positive place for overseas businesses to invest in, grow their assets or partner with our universities and other sources of innovation. These growth ambitions are what we are seeking to support.

“The East of England development team remains focused on assisting even while the business support community is poised for change.”

The top investing countries are the United States, Japan, India, Germany and the Netherlands. There are 2,500 foreign-owned businesses currently in the East of England.