“And so, this is Christmas, and what have you done, another year over…?”
Suddenly, ubiquitous anthems fill the air, playing in stores and busked on the street - whole TV channels have become dedicated to the festive season.
For me, John and Yoko’s universal call for peace is among the best, recognising that Christmas also calls a close to the year and, with it, a time for reckoning.
My final piece for 2015 will reflect on the year’s main events from an Invest in Derby perspective and looking back through our press clips, I’m struck by the sheer volume of activity.
Each year, Marketing Derby likes to hit the ground running and, in January, the Telegraph reported how 500 business leaders packed into the Derby Theatre for our Annual Business Event.
The show is generally stolen by our ‘Dare to Dream’ slot, when an invited speaker is asked to put a little grit in the oyster and stretch our thinking.
In 2014, the erudite Chairman of Geldards, David Williams, made the case for considering a replacement for the Assembly Rooms. Two months later, a serious fire completely closed the venue, giving the Dare to Dream slot a whole new meaning.
Two months later, Marketing Derby’s Bondholders, working with Foundation Derbyshire, launched a new charitable fund, called Future Talent, which now provides support into some of the city’s priority communities.
This month, Mike Copestake, partner at Bondholder Freeths, joined by Rolls-Royce and iBox Security, launched Enterprise for Education, E4E, an initiative with Derby City Council, providing employee support to thousands of the city’s school pupils in CV-writing and mock interviews.
These initiatives show what is best about Derby – a genuine sense of shared purpose, commitment to the common good and a willingness to provide practical help in moving the city forward.
Spring brought two of Marketing Derby’s landmark events, MIPIM and the Derby Property Summit.
MIPIM is the world’s largest property and investment exhibition, held in Cannes and attended by 25,000 suits.
For cities like Derby, MIPIM is a chance to fly the flag on a truly global stage and we do it pretty well, for example, the investors behind the Friar Gate Square ‘copper building’ first came across us at MIPIM.
This year, City Leader, Ranjit Banwait, supported by the Council’s Chief Executive Paul Robinson, headed the Derby delegation. Our impressive team included Ian Campbell, Group Property Director at Rolls-Royce, as well as representatives from the University of Derby and many others.
Our central pitch was to announce the new city centre masterplan, as well as bringing attention to new developments such as the Rolls-Royce Aerospace Campus and Infinity Park Derby – £500m of investment in just three schemes.
Our exhibition stand, funded by the Local Enterprise Partnership - D2N2, was shared with Nottingham and one of the myths we seem to have to bust every now and again is that we are always in competition with each other.
The truth is that we collaborate and at MIPIM we took this further by holding the first ‘Power of 3’ event, bringing Derby, Leicester and Nottingham together, supported by East Midlands Airport.
Indeed, regional collaboration grew as the year evolved. The result being a meeting hosted recently in Derby, where we brought together every inward investment agency, from across the east and west Midlands, to look at working together under the Midlands Engine brand at international events such as MIPIM.
The Property Summit brought the whole message home, when over 300 delegates from across the UK joined us at the iPro Stadium, hosted by BBC’s Declan Curry.
Investors love momentum, they tend to cluster where confidence grows.
Derby is now getting a reputation as a city on the up.
Our economic fundamentals are good and various inward investments were made during the year - the arrival of companies such as Altran and Knights Professional Services, brands such as Yo! Sushi, Byron and Turtle Bay, and the growth of Webhelp via its Sky and EE contracts.
The development side has been dominated by residential, evidenced by the completion of Wilson Bowden’s riverside apartments and construction of London and UK’s 350 student units on Cathedral Road. The continuation of construction by Compendium Living, Radleigh and Metropolitan all give a clue to a pattern for 2016. Watch this space.
For me, one of the key deals during 2015 was the purchase of the Riverlights complex by the Moorfield Group. This is a perfect illustration of Derby fishing in a different pool. Moorfield was part of Birmingham’s Brindley Place development and is bringing a heightened level of regeneration experience into the city.
Finally, 2015 saw growth of our amazing Bondholders, reaching 250 when East Midlands Airport signed up in the summer.
Bondholders showcase what is best about Derby and in 2016 we will be celebrating 10-years of Marketing Derby and Bondholders…but that’s for a different year’s reflection.