CEO Comtek Network Systems UK and chair DBF

History has demonstrated the fighting spirit of the battle-hardened business community in North Wales.

Many regions in the world have been hit hard by the pandemic and have become resigned to their unfortunate economic predicaments.

On the other hand, North Wales has embarked on a mission to buck the trend. We have organised, through the DBF, the region’s biggest business gathering at Coleg Cambria on October 27, inviting investors from all over the UK and as far away as the USA.

We want to showcase the best of North Wales to the world by organising a landmark, face to face live business event which will also be streamed online.

North Wales cannot rely on the UK and the Welsh governments for meaningful support. North Wales is not a priority for either Government.

We have learned from the lessons of the past to be self-reliant and have the self-belief to battle through all the challenges.

The North Wales Business Exhibition this Wednesday has been achieved without any assistance or encouragement from the governments.

When then PM, David Cameron, appointed David Jones MP from North Wales as the Secretary of State for Wales, the business community was pleasantly surprised.

David Jones worked hard with the businesses and vigorously fought for North Wales. Sadly, he was then removed from his position and as expected the position was passed to a South Wales MP.

Having a Secretary of State from North Wales is a very rare occurrence. The Welsh Government also appointed a minister for North Wales, a position with absolutely no power, just a name.

Fortunately, all the six councils in North Wales knew they had to put away their political differences and unite as a single economic development entity. They, therefore, created the North Wales Economic Ambition Board.

It was welcome news that the UK and Welsh governments each awarded the North Wales Economic Ambition Board £120m to be spent on North Wales’ key projects.

This award sounded very exciting and perhaps indicated some kind of sea change from both governments. However, this award was only achieved by years of hard work from the six local authorities together with the energetic support of the businesses.

This award, on the face of it, looks very generous. Unfortunately, the fact is the money is to be paid and spent over 15 years. Basically, this works out at a very small amount from each government each year. Now they have realised spreading the funding over 15 years looks embarrassingly low, so they are planning to reduce it to 10 years.

In contrast, just a few days ago, thanks to the hard work of its mayor, Manchester was awarded about £1.2bn to upgrade its infrastructure, in particular its transport network.

We have a few politicians in North Wales who are prepared to fight for the region. For example, Carolyn Thomas MS, a fiercely energetic fighter trying hard to represent North Wales’ businesses and economy in Welsh Parliament.

Virginia Crosbie, MP for Anglesey, is another enthusiastic representative who is tirelessly fighting for Holyhead to be awarded a Freeport status. Unfortunately, not only is she not getting any support for her hard work, she is actually facing obstacle after obstacle.

It’s possible that these hardworking, enthusiastic, representatives will eventually become demotivated and give up.

I believe now is the time for North Wales to have its own regional administration similar to Metro Mayors, with real power. It would be very interesting to know the views of the business communities on having an elected governor for North Wales.

North Wales has attracted some of the largest global manufacturers such as Airbus and Toyota, which have created many high skilled jobs and contributed massively to the treasury in taxes and business rates. The Welsh Government has been able to pass this money on to poorly performing regions.

It would be interesting to see if the Chancellor will recognise our region’s massive tax contribution and economic potential in his budget announcement.

• North Wales Business Exhibition 21 (#NWBE21) at Coleg Cambria, Deeside Campus is a significant business exhibition and gathering.

It would be fantastic if as many people as possible could participate by registering (www.eventbrite.com/e/dbf-north-wales-business-exhibition-nwbe21-tickets-157071927363) to attend or watch it via a live stream.

It would be great to let the world see the resolve of our business community and the economic dynamism of this great region and its people.

Visit www.deesidebusinessforum.co.uk