01 May 2013
Lord Andrew Adonis addressed the region’s business leaders and spoke to young entrepreneurs from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) during his one-day visit to the North West.
Hosted by Frank McKenna, Chairman of Downtown Lancashire, Lord Adonis met business leaders from Lancashire and Manchester at a lunch event held at the Holiday Inn Preston.
He described the region as “a great powerhouse” of the UK economy which needed to be part of high-speed rail if it is to progress. He said plans to bring high-speed rail to the region by 2033 were a “great vision” to slash travel times with London.
“I cannot tell you how important our existing rail network was in bringing the Olympics to this country,” he said.
“To be able to get from Preston to London in a little over two hours is transformational and any reduction through high-speed opens up huge opportunities for the North West economy.”
Lord Adonis spoke passionately about his focus on education and on equipping young people with work-related skills through apprenticeships. While in office he was the architect of the Academies programme and by the time he left there were 133 academies open and a further 500 in the pipeline.
Following lunch Lord Adonis met with the next generation of entrepreneurs at UCLan’s Media Factory building.
He spoke to a number of UCLan’s start-up businesses including, Satvinder and Manvinder from Expertfly, Yasin and Raheel from SignDoxand and Tom Stables and Nathaniel Cassidy from 3ManFactory, who have now moved out of the incubation unit and run their integrated marketing agency from business premises in Preston city centre.
Lord Adonis also met Segun Babatunde, who is deaf and runs his deaf support business YouMeSign, from UCLan’s Media Factory building.
“It was an opportunity to not only showcase a number of the business projects we run here at UCLan, but also for Lord Adonis to meet some of our success stories and hear first-hand the support we offer to students and graduates."
Commenting on the visit John Lonsdale, Head of UCLan Innovation and Enterprise, said: “It was an opportunity to not only showcase a number of the business projects we run here at UCLan, but also for Lord Adonis to meet some of our success stories and hear first-hand the support we offer to students and graduates looking to start and develop their businesses in the region.”