The county's future was on the agenda today at the first of a series of in-Cumbria Business Breakfasts.
The Barrow event, held at the Abbey House Hotel, focused on innovation.
Keynote speakers were Jo Lappin, chief executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Joanne Holborn, of breakfast sponsor Baines Wilson, Ivan Baldwin, of the National Nuclear Laboratory, Steve Phelps, of Rovtech Solutions Limited and Adrian Davis-Johnston, of Nuvia.
Ms Lappin told the audience about the LEP's Local Industrial Strategy for Cumbria.
It maps the county's economic priorities through to the 2030s and feeds into the Government's Industrial Strategy.
The aim is to more accurately identify priorities to improve skills, increase innovation and enhance infrastructure and business growth.
She said: "It's game-changing and transformational for Cumbria. We will be collaborative and consultative. It's all about establishing engagement and us really getting an understanding of the county."
She said that Cumbria faced many challenges, not least of which was the working age population.
She added: "We are going off a cliff. Our young people are leaving and not coming back. We need to get young people coming through the pipeline.
"We need to retain and attract talents and skills to the area and migration into Cumbria has to play a key part too."
She added that Cumbria needed to "blow its own trumpet" more and position itself on the national and international stage.
Ms Holborn spoke about the benefits to employers and their staff of agile working – and not relying on the nine to five of an office.
She said offering flexibility to employees resulted in increased productivity and collaboration.
Mr Phelps spoke about the innovation which had seen his company create a remote operated vehicle which had reduced the time to work on machinery by the side of a fuel storage pond in Sellafield from five hours to nine minutes.
Mr Davis-Johnston pleaded with businesspeople and politicians to be strong leaders for Cumbria to help unlock its potential on the national and international stage and Mr Baldwin talked about the role the NNL, based in Cumbria, plays on the national nuclear stage and research and development.
On Wednesday, July 4, the event moves to Carlisle Racecourse, where speakers will tackle what the Northern Powerhouse means for Cumbria and the huge potential of The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.
The final business breakfast will be held at Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven, on Wednesday, July 18 where the hot topic for debate will be West Cumbria’s future beyond nuclear.
The three events will also be an opportunity to learn more about the in-Cumbria Business Awards 2018, which will take place at The Halston, in Carlisle on Thursday, November 15.
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