An event organised by West Sussex County Council to look at the growth of the health and life sciences sector in the county was attended by more than 100 people.
Businesses including GSK, Toshiba Medical Systems, Elekta and Thermo-Fisher attended the event on Tuesday 7 July 2015, held at Roffey Park, near Horsham.
Leader of the Council Louise Goldsmith said: “The health and life sciences sector in West Sussex has got high growth potential – we currently have more than 65 businesses located in the county.
“Boosting the economy is one of our key priorities as a County Council and we are very supportive of businesses across the county. As part of our work on the health and life sciences sector we have been out there speaking directly to businesses about their plans for the future.
“Bringing everyone together into one room for the first time led to some exciting and honest discussion about how businesses see the sector growing in the coming years, the challenges they face and how we as a county council can help support expansion.”
Businesses were asked for their feedback on the County Council’s economy plans, and those comments and suggestions received will be integral to the development of these plans. It is also planned that the success of the event will be built on with a strong health and life sciences network in the county, where businesses can share experiences and challenges as well as make new business connections.
The County Council recognises that one of the key ways to boost the economy is to ensure there are young people coming through education with the correct skills for local industries, and to ensure leading educational establishments are working closely with local businesses. To support these links, Brighton, Sussex, Chichester and Surrey Universities were at the event, along with the Brighton-Sussex Medical school, local colleges and Steyning Grammar School.
The county has strengths across the health and life sciences sector, from leading pharmaceutical businesses to market leaders in medical technologies and companies that offer support services for the industry, such as specialised component design, clinical trials support, and consultancy.
“Both the County Council and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership has identified this sector as one of the top growth priority areas,” Louise added.
“West Sussex is the base for many leading companies, from an impressive number of multinationals who choose to locate their regional, UK or global headquarters in the county, to small, innovative companies bringing new products to market.
“This is an exciting time for this high growth potential sector and for the County Council to spearhead new opportunities from which the economy and innovation can continue to grow and flourish.”
This growth sector is the focus of one of the ‘Bold Five’ ideas the County Council is developing to boost the West Sussex economy. It recognises that West Sussex is in a strong position to benefit from global trends which show the average lifespan of people increasing, and therefore more medical interventions needed. The focus is on marketing the county as a European capital for the sector. The results from the event will help shape this work to ensure the county is in the best position possible to support the growth of the sector.