Business thrives in the Great Outdoors

Geography has blessed us with a location that makes Sheffield in particular a hot-bed for businesses who are making their name from climbing, biking, events and even marketing.

Some have grown up in the city and are owned and run by born and bred Sheffielders but there are many who have been attracted to the area by the proximity to their market and the intellectual property that has been built up over the years.

Sheffield sees itself very much as a sporting city. Football has been, and pretty much always will be, its heart but many other sports can claim to have strong senior teams.

Ice hockey, basketball, rugby league and union, cricket and hockey are all played at elite levels for team sport and there are hundreds of people who play individual sports – Winter Olympians Katie and Molly Summerhayes and James Woods being obvious examples – who ply their trade on either a national or international level.

The Outdoor City may be brand name used by the city’s marketing authorities, but it taps into the sports and activities that so many of us do but without anyone making a song and dance about it.

Schemes like Move Move are designed to make Sheffield the most active city in the UK by 2020 but there is already so much happening.

Many years ago I published a magazine for the city that focused on its sporting landscape. Events like Sheffield Adventure Film Festival and Cliffhanger were both in their formative stages, the Climbing Works was blazing a trail as a new venue of its type and cycling was edging into the mainstream.

Fast forward just over a decade and international events are now being hosted at the Climbing Works and Great Britain leads the world on two wheels.

The Outdoor City is very much here to stay and it is great to see so many businesses being created on the back of Sheffield’s outstanding natural beauty.

Reigniting of town’s economy boosts city region

Being a resident of Rotherham it is particularly pleasing to see more and more positive stories coming out of the town.

In this day and age of the ‘city region’ it is important that all parts of the local economy are thriving. Rotherham, it is fair to say, has had its share of bad publicity so it is good that business is booming with news that it is the fastest growing economy in Yorkshire.

Much of this is down to the collaborative work with Sheffield City Council and the city’s two universities at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, where great things are happening.

Since the economy stats were released we have also seen Prince Charles reignite an electric arc furnace, which had been mothballed for two years, at Liberty Speciality Steels Aldwark plant.

We all know about our area’s steel heritage and it is vitally important, in my opinion, that we continue to invest in its production, particularly the new ‘GreenSteel Strategy’ which Liberty is leading the way in.

When you see how Rotherham and Sheffield have been working together it demonstrates very clearly the case for the city region to be kept to South Yorkshire.

It will be interesting to see what happens during the devolution debate to come with the frontrunner most likely favouring a larger One Yorkshire solution.