The Big Read: Getting Corby working again

Ged McHugh, Corby economic development officer
Ged McHugh, Corby economic development officer
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Last week saw the launch of Growing Corby, a £1.1m scheme, which aims to help existing businesses grow and support people who want to launch their own enterprises.

Corby Enterprise Centre opened three years ago and it is now home to more than 40 businesses.

Now full, it has provided more than 120 jobs and generated £12m for the Corby economy.

Enterprise4Corby, funded by the European Development Fund and delivered by the University Of Northampton, has also been instrumental in launching dozens of small businesses.

Rockingham Development Framework, another major development planned for the area, centred around the racing circuit and near Priors Hall Park, a 1,000-acre site which will eventually include 5,100 homes, four schools, 500 acres of parkland and commercial space.

Corby’s new economic development officer is tasked with the challenge of helping to attract new companies and jobs to the town to keep pace with house-building.

That’s just one of many tasks being undertaken by Ged McHugh, 63, who took up his new role with the borough council at the beginning of the year.

Before coming to Corby he was head of economic development with Blaenau Gwent Council, Ebbw Vale, another former steel town.

He took voluntary redundancy from his job there after working in regeneration and planning for more than 30 years.

Now, working alongside other agencies, including Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership and South East Midlands Enterprise Partnership, his challenge is to help devise strategies to create jobs and attract investment.

He said: “We have to compete for inward investment.

“The biggest incentives are offered in the north of England, but Corby has a very good reputation, especially in the distribution and food sectors, and the town is on the radar of companies interested in relocating.

“One of the challenges we face is to widen the range of jobs available in Corby.

“We need more jobs in ITC and the creative industries and there are fewer jobs for women than men.”

The target is to create 1,000 jobs a year and continue to establish apprenticeships in a wide range of businesses and industries.

Mr McHugh said: “What we don’t want is Corby to end up being a dormitory town. It has plenty to offer.

“The council is playing its role through land allocation, dealing with planning permission quickly and efficiently and through procurement.

“We have to plan for the long-term and with partners working together we can make a big difference.”

Figures show firms believe Corby’s a great place to do business

Corby is proving to be a great place to do business, according to figures which have been released by a firm of commercial property agents.

Prop Search, which has offices in Wellingborough, Northampton and Milton Keynes, says in the first half of 2012 the town achieved a new record in company registrations, compared with any previous half year, with a total of 157 new companies being established.

This figure is 6.8 per cent higher than the previous year and compares well with the UK figure of 6.4 per cent.

Director of Prop Search Ian Harman said: “This bodes well for a bright future.”

Business awards set to showcase successes and sheer hard work

Firms are invited to enter the Corby Awards, launched last year to showcase and celebrate businesses in the town.

The first awards night was hailed a huge success and this year’s promises to be even better. It is being held on Friday, July 25, at the Best Western Rockingham Forest Hotel and the deadline for entries is April 25.

David Laird, owner of DGL Creative and co-founder of the awards, said: “Our aim is to discover the finest businesses in the Corby borough by promoting success, innovation and ethics.”

Categories include best retailer, sole trader, healthcare, dining experience, best new business and the new People’s Choice Awards.

For more information on the awards and details on how to enter visit www.corbyawards.co.uk.