Quaker to lead region’s economic partnership

DrAnnLimb'new chair of SEMLEP
DrAnnLimb'new chair of SEMLEP

INTEGRITY, trust and a desire to see businesses helping to create social justice are some of the driving forces of the first person to chair a new economic partnership body covering the Advertiser and Review region.

Quaker Dr Ann Limb OBE DL, 58, from Stony Stratford, has been appointed as the unpaid head of South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and takes up the reins officially on Friday, September 30.

Dr Limb sees her role as being an advocate and champion for the region and thinks the Advertiser region will play a central role in the prosperity of the area.

“It’s about getting government to come to the region,” she said and hopes to persuade the leaders of global companies in the region – like Volkswagen, Coca-Cola Enterprise and Amazon – to become ambassadors for SEMLEP.

“I want them to have a greater sense of pride in the region,” she said. This might include trying to persuade them to put references to towns or SEMLEP on letterheads.

The former principal of Milton Keynes College added: “It’s about promotion, pride, positioning and making progress. There is huge room for strategic thinking, thinking in an innovative way. It is a good time for innovation and for getting people to think strategically, about sharing things with others across a wider area.”

That type of strategic thinking could put the Advertiser region on the front line as Dr Limb thinks universities, motorsport, high end engineering and arts, culture, music and sport will play central role.

As a Quaker Dr Limb thinks businesses can enhance social wealth and said: “I am 100 per cent behind wealth creation. What really matters is what you do with the money.

“Quaker businesses have a great tradition in this country, the early banks, Clarks Shoes. I am all for making money!”

But she said Quakers also have a strong commitment to businesses with a purpose of enhancing social justice and of being trustworthy and she aims to “live up to those values.”

Dr Limb is known as a passionate champion of Milton Keynes, shown through her work leading the town’s failed bid to host the World Cup host. She is acutely aware of that close association and was asked in her interview if she would be able to represent other parts of the SEMLEP patch - from Luton to Corby.

Dr Limb is also the Bucks county deputy lieutenant and said: “Whoever chairs SEMLEP would come from somewhere in the region,

“I think the way of dealing with it is to acknowledge I am someone who really cares about, is passionate about promoting people or regions I believe in.

“And our region has some fantastic businesses and places in it.”

Brian Hibbert CBE, the outgoing interim chair of SEMLEP said: “I am confident that Ann has the experience and drive rapidly to establish SEMLEP as one of the leading economic powerhouses of the country.”