Economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE) has set out a £6.7million investment programme for its second year of operation.
Announcing its plans, the organisation’s chairman Sir Ian Wood predicted “significant progress for the region’s economy” in the 12 months ahead.
The private sector-led initiative plans to invest up to £3.5million across its priority industry sectors of food, drink and agriculture, oil and gas, life sciences and tourism. The funding, it said, would secure more than £3.2million from its partners.
Projects will include a food and drink business growth programme, work with agriculture supply chains on efficiency and developing diversification opportunities with the oil and gas supply chain. The organisation will also give direct financial support to VisitAberdeenshire to increase visitor numbers and tourism revenues in the region.
With the Oil and Gas Technology Centre now in operation, ONE is leading on the other two innovation projects in the £250million Aberdeen City Region Deal; the Agri-Food and Nutrition Hub for Innovation and the Bio-Therapeutics Hub for Innovation.
Sir Ian said: “We are investing in the region’s future to turn the renaissance vision for our economy into a reality that people, businesses and industry sectors can engage with, influence, and help to deliver.
“ONE’s approach to identifying sector-specific opportunities to accelerate long-term economic growth and providing resources, developing partnerships and securing funding to deliver projects is already making a difference.
“This year should be one of significant progress for the region’s economy.”
ONE chief executive Jennifer Craw added: “The year-on-year increase in the scope of our activity and investment is a very positive indication of the real opportunities for growth that exist in our economy and these are what we are actively pursuing.”
Trevor Garlick, former managing director of BP Exploration North Sea, has been appointed chair of ONE Oil and Gas sector board and joined the organisation’s economic leadership board.
Other sector board appointments have seen Colin Welsh, former
chief executive of Simmons and Company International, joining ONE Oil and Gas, Robert Chapman of Farmlay Eggs joining ONE Food, Drink and Agriculture and Les Thomson of GSK joining ONE Life Sciences.