Entrepreneur the latest appointed as a LEP board member

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MANUFACTURING entrepreneur Eric Hawthorn has been appointed by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as its latest board member.

Mr Hawthorn, the managing director of Shipley-based global telecommunications firm Radio Design, has served for three years on the LEP’s business innovation and growth panel, where he helped to develop the ‘We are International’ export campaign.

To date the campaign – which aims to boost the City Region’s export performance – has helped around 300 SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) take the first steps towards trading overseas.

He will continue in his role as the LEP’s chief adviser on international trade, as well as providing the board with advice about enterprise, business and innovation, SME competitiveness and the manufacturing sector.

Mr Hawthorn said: “Having been part of the LEP for three years now, I’m impressed by the genuine passion our board and panel members have for driving the region forward.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to the LEP board, and to working with my fellow board members to seize the opportunity we now have to fully realise the Leeds City Region’s enormous economic potential – and to ensuring the We are International campaign continues to go from strength to strength in helping local firms realise their own export potential.”

LEP chairman, Roger Marsh, said: “I’m delighted to appoint someone of Eric’s outstanding calibre to the LEP board. Eric has brought real leadership and energy to the We are International campaign, and has helped ensure it’s seen – by the SMEs who are benefitting from it, and by Government – as an innovative and valuable LEP initiative.

“Eric’s company success story is testament to how businesses in our region are exporting innovation around the world and driving the re-industrialisation of the UK economy. I look forward to having him on board to help the LEP ensure the Leeds City Region punches its full weight on the national and international stage.”

Mr Hawthorn founded Radio Design in 2007 and has since overseen its growth from a team of 11 employees to a global operation with more than 250 staff in six countries, including China.

Mr Hawthorn has replaced Simon Spencer from Borg Warner who resigned from his position on the board to take a role overseas with the company.

The Leeds City Region (LCR) Partnership, which covers 11 local authority areas, is working to deliver a city region-wide economic strategy.