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Forty years is a long time in regeneration circles and at UK Steel Enterprise, we don’t know of any other organisations, operating in a similar way to ourselves that have lasted as long. We are proud of the fact that we have stuck by our steel communities and are now entering our fifth decade of support.

And it isn’t just the fact that we’ve been around for 40 years that is worth celebrating, it’s the impact the work of our staff, past and present that fills us with pride. The £88 million pounds of investment from UKSE has helped over 75,000 people find gainful employment, it’s built an infrastructure of high quality office and workshop accommodation across the UK, equivalent to the size of 3.5 Wembley stadiums and its seen real growth in the businesses we work with. Take a look at the infographic that accompanies this post and you will see the facts behind the rhetoric.

One thing is for certain though - we can’t rest on our laurels. If UKSE is still to be creating jobs over the next forty years, we have to stay relevant to the areas that we serve. We have worked through 5 separate recessions in the UK and each one throws up different challenges. We have a very supportive parent company, Tata Steel, who are passionate about the work we do, but, alongside this, we have to keep evolving and meeting the new demands that a fast moving world creates.

That’s why we continue to develop cutting edge business space such as Hub Two at Hartlepool Innovation Centre and why we’ve improved our funding support to small and medium-sized businesses. Back in the day, we provided small loans and lease finance. Four decades later we can provide up to £1 million of loan and equity investment. We’ve also stayed close to the needs at the very heart of our steel communities, by providing £10 million of grant support to help with some of the key problems around drug and alcohol abuse, crime and youth issues.

So as we celebrate throughout 2015, we are kicking off the next stage in our journey by launching our 40:40 Challenge – a competition that is looking to help build the entrepreneurs for the next four decades. The world is a different place to it was in 1975, that’s for certain, but what is equally certain is that since then, UKSE has played an important role in helping make life better for thousands of families. And for me, that’s worth celebrating!

Simon Hamilton
Author: Simon Hamilton
Simon was appointed Managing Director in 2013. He brought wide experience in business banking and management to UKSE when he joined 16 years ago and headed the UKSE teams in the North of England region and Scotland for several years. During that time, he oversaw both the investment and property functions, including the development of the two multi-million pound Innovation Centres on Teesside.