The new team charged with selling York to the world revealed their plans on Tuesday (May 19).

These include the launch of annual cultural awards, a smartphone app to encourage businesses to relocate here and a plan to make York “the most China-friendly city in the UK”.

Make It York is the “destination management organisation” which came into being last month. Its job is to boost the city’s economy through tourism and business investment.

Combined under the Make It York (MIY) umbrella are

  • the Visit York tourism organisation
  • Science City York, promoting innovative businesses
  • the inward investment and business support teams
  • the city centre management, events and festival teams.

At the official launch, Make It York MD Steve Brown said:

The best interests of York will always be at the heart of what we do. Ultimately our aim is to enable our city and its surroundings to develop as a world-class vibrant and attractive destination to live, visit, study and do business.

So what are the plans for…?

Existing businesses

MIY is backing the plan by City Team York for a Business Improvement District. This would see York’s businesses paying into a fund to raise £4.4 million in five years to improve the appearance and vibrance of the city centre.

MIY is also promising support for businesses in finding sponsors for events and festivals.

There will be “renewed focus… on sectors in which York has strength and high growth potential such as rail, insurance and the food and the science sectors”.

Attracting new businesses

Stirling Kimkeran, CEO of Omnicom

Stirling Kimkeran, CEO of Omnicom


Steve says the priority is to “refresh the sales story for relocating a business in York”.

A “tool-kit” of resources will be developed to help tell that story. This will include a smartphone app promoting York to potential investors, created with the help of Stirling Kimkeran, head of Omnicom Engineering Ltd.

Science City York will be expected to play a key role in attracting business from high growth science industries.

Shops

Coming soon to a shopping centre near you…

Coming soon to a shopping centre near you…

“Make It York will also aim to enhance York’s important retail sector, encouraging yet more contemporary and stylish retailers to locate here.”

Food and drink

York Food and Drink Festival. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

York Food and Drink Festival. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

York’s lively bar, café and restaurant scene is growing all the time. Visit York will promote it via its Taste York campaign, including a new foodie video on the Britain Is Great website.

Shambles Market

Shambles Market

Shambles Market

The relaunched market is being promoted as a “must visit” destination for visitors and residents.

Start-up businesses

Photograph: Science City York

Photograph: Science City York

Part of a “refreshed Science City York strategy” will involve a fund to help start-up businesses in the city’s creative, science and technology sectors.

Make It York has partnered with Share My Office to foster co-working across the city.

A new bespoke website for York, will offer businesses who have spare offices the opportunity to connect up with small and start-up companies looking for a desk or two.

– MIY statement

Tourism

A China friendly city

A China friendly city

Make It York has put in a bid for £100,000 from Visit England to help make York “the most China-friendly city in the UK”.

It is also planning to bid for funds from Northern Futures to help Visit York deliver its plan for a £1 billion tourism sector by 2024.

Business tourism

A business conference in York. Photograph: visityork.org/ Paul Crossman

A business conference in York. Photograph: visityork.org/ Paul Crossman

Make It York is boosting its commitment to bring more, high-value conferences and business meetings to the city.

A new business tourism brand has been created – VisitYork4meetings.

UNESCO status

Making the most of the UNESCO status

Making the most of the UNESCO status

York was designated a UNESCO City Of Media Arts last December.

MIY is to oversee a “self-sustaining project” to maximise the benefits of this status, “ensuring a long term programme of media arts development”.

Lots to do, then. Jane Lady Gibson, chair of Make It York said:

York has many challenges and no single organisation can solve all of a city’s issues.

However, we hope the ideas and initiatives being revealed today demonstrate our ambition for York and that by working collaboratively with businesses and communities across the city and beyond, our aim is to maximise York’s potential to the full.