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Phoenix from the flames. Supporting towns and cities post COVID

Press release: 6th August 2020


Regions can benefit most post pandemic

Chantelle Covid-19, the subsequent lockdown and the increase in remote working has created new clusters of talent across the UK which will fundamentally change investment distribution according to Mark O’Connell CEO of leading international trade business OCO Global. 

The Belfast based business which advises the Department of International Trade has said that the UK regions are now presented with a once in a generation opportunity to secure increased foreign investment opportunities based upon these newly formed skill clusters. 

Accounting for only 5% of the workforce in 2019, the Covid-19 lockdown increased remote working to as much as 30% expediting the trend of Londoners moving out of the capital, which has increased by 78% over the past 10 years, as they seek a better quality of life and cheaper housing.  This seismic shift has helped to further equip UK regions to secure regional investment with staff reluctant to return to pre pandemic workplace practices. 

Complemented by the Government’s ‘levelling up agenda’, Mark O’Connell believes regions can use this change to open up local economies and secure foreign investment across the UK. To support the regional investment opportunities, OCO Global in partnership with eutopia strategy and Abodoo, have developed a new package, Phoenix, which will position the UK regions’ bespoke offering. The initiative will support the regions in securing investment based on a strong skill base, lower overheads, good logistics and the ability to align with the sustainable agenda and remote working requirements.

Mark O’Connell, CEO of OCO Global, commented: 

“Local authorities recognise that top down Government stimulus is only one measure for economic recovery and urgent action will be needed at the local level to fully engage and leverage local skills. 

“Though UK regions have worked hard to forge skills clusters, for example the formidable cyber security hub in Belfast, the AI industry in Newcastle or fund management sector in Edinburgh, the geographical distribution of the UK skill base is shifting as part of significant transformational change.

“Phoenix is designed to capitalise on that by seeking to unlock place, people and potential through an essential framework to address and accelerate economic recovery.

“The national and global economy is under significant pressure to adapt, presenting huge opportunities for regional authorities to bid for international investment on the back of a redistributed UK skill base.”

Judith O’Doherty, Director of place marketing firm eutopia, said: 

“Towns and cities need to re-define their offer based on supply side capability and forecast demand to develop revised place campaigns that will resonate with the right audiences. 

“For example, Birmingham and the wider Midlands region is already a recognised investment hub for Advanced Manufacturing but it now has an opportunity to enhance its competitiveness in tech and professional services, leveraging its strong skills base and relatively low cost of living compared to London and the South East region.

“With the shifts in working and investment as a result of Covid-19, it can now look to capitalise on those benefits and attract foreign investment as workers seek a new work-life balance.” 

Vanessa Tierney, CEO of Abodoo, commented:

“As part of the package Abodoo will leverage its dynamic talent mapping platform Geonostics, which provides an opportunity for all locations to easily map and showcase available skills in their area and support reversing migration. It provides key data intelligence and the demand for remote working which is vital for creating the optimum location of co-working hubs as well as strengthening investment attractiveness.”



To find out more about the Phoenix recovery package, contact us.

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