Having worked for fifteen years as an entrepreneur before coming to Parliament and having served previously as a Business Minister, I passionately believe in the potential of Norfolk’s rural economy to play a significant role in helping to rebalance the national economy and create prosperity and opportunities across our area – especially as we look to Build Back Better post-Covid.
That’s why I have my Local Business Spotlight, launched the first ever Norfolk Innovation Awards and set up The Norfolk Way project (a not-for-profit social enterprise I founded with local businesses to promote a vibrant rural economy) as part of my mission to shine a light great local businesses, encourage innovation and entrepreneurs that embrace it, create rural bursaries that help our youngsters get work experience and/or insight into some of the most exciting sectors and businesses that call our region home, and promote a more entrepreneurial vision for our communities.
Too often rural businesses suffer from isolation and struggle to access the finance and support they need. Many of the market towns and high streets in Mid Norfolk face real challenges as the older local manufacturing businesses and jobs leave, while villages suffer from closing Post Offices and pubs.
In response, I set up the Norfolk Enterprise Festival to give the tens of thousands of SMEs and local entrepreneurs a fun, family-friendly event to come together, promote themselves and network – and I work with local councillors, council officials, parish councils, the New Anglia LEP and businesses themselves to emphasise Norfolk’s (often hidden!) entrepreneurial spirit. There is so much for our county to be proud of and we must do more to celebrate Business and innovation here.
Rest assured, I am firmly committed to continuing to Back Local Business – and look forward to supporting the thousands of entrepreneurs based here in Mid Norfolk.