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Growth Sectors

Growth Sectors

Monmouthshire has over 679 active businesses per 10,000 of its population, the second highest in Wales.  In the UK Competitiveness Index report 2013 Monmouthshire tops the Wales rankings with a competitiveness index of 97.4.

Monmouthshire’s economy is resilient. Activity is predicated mainly in the service sector 81.4% (ranging from wholesale and retail (15.2%), public administration (32.7%), financial and business services (11.2%), accommodation and food (8.6%), transport and storage (4.3%), information and communication (2.7%), other services (6.6%)) and manufacturing 12.6% and construction 4.5%.

The role of Monmouthshire Business and Enterprise is to sustain and grow businesses in the county through the provision of business support services whilst also enabling access to finance; mentoring and coaching; public sector procurement opportunities and reducing regulatory burdens.

Detailed below are priority growth sectors which we feel have the greatest growth potential for our county given the need to future proof our traditional sectors of agriculture, recreation, food and tourism. We also have an aspiration to develop a ‘Smart Monmouthshire’ by capitalising on our digital connectivity and unlocking the commercial potential of on line activity and new technologies.

Digital

In a recent 2015 Tech City UK report, ‘Tech Nation:  Powering the Digital Economy’ Monmouthshire was identified as part of the South Wales Top Five UK Tech Clusters.  Detailed analysis of the data indicated that Monmouthshire is attracting a growing number of high growth digital businesses into the county.  As a result, Monmouthshire is considered to be the lead rural Digital County in the Cardiff Capital Region.

Given Monmouthshire’s strategic location between Cardiff and Bristol, two of the UK’s fastest growing cities and the emerging growth opportunities associated with the rollout of the Next Generation Access Broadband, Monmouthshire County Council is keen to embrace, deploy and use technology to exploit economic growth opportunities, job creation and higher living standards for all.

We wish to encourage digital start-ups into Monmouthshire, for Monmouthshire to become a test bed for rural digital innovation, so that Monmouthshire can become one of the UK’s most inspiring spaces for digital advancement – a county characterised by a growing digital economy.  If you would like to join us on this journey email our Monmouthshire Business and Enterprise Team.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing has always been a key sector for Monmouthshire accounting for 12.6% of jobs in the county with growth taking place across a number of areas including engineering and renewables.

Confidence in the area has been boosted by Northern Automotive Systems who are a world leader in the manufacture and supply of decorative aluminium trim for the automotive industry.  The company has a history dating back to 1908 but since joining the Huaxiang Group in 2012 has become part of a global structure enabling them to meet the needs of their customers world-wide.

Although the number of people employed in this sector may have declined over the last ten years nationally, Monmouthshire County Council is keen to see the value of this sector rising in Monmouthshire in the future.

Agrifood

Monmouthshire is known as the Food Capital of Wales not only because of the fantastic food and drink that is available in the county but also because of our award winning restaurants and tea rooms and our annual Abergavenny Food Festival.  In Monmouthshire you can find Michelin starred and award winning restaurants owned by our much loved TV chefs, tempting tea rooms and cafes showcasing our fantastic local produce that is delivered direct from our wealth of local food producers.

Although traditional agriculture activities have declined over the years Monmouthshire has seen a rapid growth in artisan food producers and farm diversification projects.  One of the biggest growth sectors has been the increase in the number of vineyards in the county.

Given the mild climate, well-draining soils, long hours of sunshine and comparatively low rainfall in the county, Monmouthshire is the perfect place for an organic vineyard.  Award winning Ancre Hill Estates released their first vintage in 2008 and since then have been recognised in some of the top international wine competitions in the world.  In order to continue their development Ancre Hill have recently constructed a new winery using sustainable materials and technologies to provide temperature and humidity regulation.

Monmouthshire continually celebrates its love of food and so we are keen to encourage more businesses to join us in celebrating our success.

Renewables

Given the rise in utility costs and calls for carbon reduction, sustainable energy solutions and renewable energy are key growth sectors for Monmouthshire.

Monmouthshire is keen to support more renewables companies and is hoping to develop its own solar farm.  In addition our new Rural Development Programme has a strong emphasis on community renewable energy schemes so Monmouthshire County Council will be seeking to encourage more activity in this sector in the future.

Tourism

Any visitor is spoilt for choice in terms of Monmouthshire’s amazing castles, award winning attractions, not to mention our beautiful landscape and more than 1000 miles of public footpaths to walk, including the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the east and the Brecon Beacons National Park in the north of the county. You can kayak down the River Wye, paddleboard, paraglide off the Blorenge or simply wander quietly around one of our museums – we really do have something for everyone.

Tourism is worth more than £173.15M to Monmouthshire’s economy and rising year on year.  In 2014 Monmouthshire received more than 2.1M visitors, supporting 2,733 full time jobs in the county.  This makes tourism one of the most important sectors for the county.

However we know that in order to maximise our potential we need to encourage new development in the form of quality serviced accommodation and all weather attractions. This is particularly pertinent for Monmouthshire given the planned Wales Convention Centre in Newport, which will have the capacity for 4,000 delegates, making it the largest of its kind in Wales and South West England.  The potential for overspill accommodation in Monmouthshire is huge and therefore represents a real opportunity for tourism development in the county when it opens in 2019, creating 250 jobs.

Health Care

As a destination county with its stunning landscape, coupled with a safe and secure environment, Monmouthshire is a popular retirement area.  Currently over 40% of the population is aged over 64 and looking ahead as the population lives longer, this is set to grow.

With demand for health and care services growing and our ageing population, a key challenge for Monmouthshire County Council will be in meeting the needs of our citizens while operating with diminishing resources.

This presents an opportunity for growth for the Monmouthshire economy as the need for care homes, care workers, community activities, medical supplies and public transport increases.