An extra £40m worth of contracts could be captured for south Cumbrian firms if the new Furness Economic Development Forum is a success.
The new body begins work today with the aim of helping local firms make the most of opportunities offered by the expansion of BAE and GSK along with the plans for a new nuclear power station and National Grid’s work in the county.
It is chaired by Jackie Arnold (pictured), head of strategy at BAE, and has a £800,000 grant at its disposal which was originally given to Furness Enterprise which was wound up earlier this year.
“it is much easier to deliver our growth projects if we can work with local companies otherwise we have to bring in other people which can put a strain on the local economy,” she said.
Initially the Forum would target businesses that can support construction activity, but there would a wide range of opportunities in the pipeline.
The project is based at Emlyn House in Barrow where Stuart Klosinski, who used to work for Furness Enterprise, hopes the Forum can develop a one stop shop for local businesses.
“We have a vision of robust resilient supply chain with local firms benefiting by becoming fit to bid and win work not just in Furness but across UK
“We can provide help with pre-qualifications, advice on how to tender and information on what projects coming along so companies get in early enough,” he told Radio Cumbria.
It is hoped to capture £30-40m extra spend for local businesses, he added.
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