Promotion agency will ensure Cambridge capitalises on ‘golden opportunities’


A PROMOTION agency is to be set up for Cambridge to make sure we don't miss out on golden opportunities.


At the moment there is no central point of call for those interested in coming here to run businesses, and as a result potential incomers have been turned away or given up the struggle.

An example of this, says Claire Ruskin, chief executive of Cambridge Network, is The Crick Institute, which was interested in coming to Cambridge, but is now to set up in King's Cross.

The agency, which has the backing of the local councils as well as business, Cambridge Ahead and Cambridge Network, will get £120,000 from the latter two to get started and find a chief executive. Claire has already begun looking for the right person to fill the role.

"Cambridge needs promoting so that we choose quality," she said. "We get so many visitors that we often have to dodge the coaches viewing the science parks, but are we getting value from this and do we have control over the right sort of growth and winning the right suitors?" The suggestion here is that delegations from abroad are divided into roughly three groups – those seriously interested in setting up here, those considering Cambridge alongside other cities, and those who are merely business tourists.

"The world is much more competitive, trying to attract trade and investment. We want Cambridge to have the most talented entrepreneurs, the cleanest, most ethical and successful businesses and the best quality of life for everyone in the region.

"We think of ourselves as the best small city in the world because of our unusual combination of varied and satisfying employment – with less than 2% unemployment – our leadership of world thinking in so many sectors, and the quality of life we see here.

"But Cambridge will fall behind other cities and countries if we don't step up to keep attracting the best. Other places have raised their game, by coordinating and by collaborating to have a loud voice to attract investment and people. London is an obvious example but there are many more, and we are in competition with Boston and Barcelona, Singapore and Shanghai.

"We are planning a way to coordinate better, starting immediately. Other cities have private-public inward investment agencies and we need to create something more effective and more nimble to catch up quickly. We need to keep the choices that we have built up in the past 50 years and attract the best investment and the best opportunities that we can.

"So we have a plan for a Cambridge 'promotion agency' and we are looking for a way to lead it. If you have a passion for the region and know anyone who would be an extraordinarily good leader to create a combined force for good around Cambridge then please let us know."


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