The purpose of study visits in the COMPETE IN project is to provide an on-site learning opportunity, facilitate discussion amongst partners and enable further investigation of themes and innovation identified within each good practice case study, with a view to building future networks and collaboration between regions and enterprises.

The first programme study visit was held in Wakefield, UK in June 2017. Partners from all regions attended the 2-day event, which involved presentations, site visits to local businesses and events arranged to further explore each of Wakefield’s 3 good practice case studies. 

The first day of the study visit was taken up with studying the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, which included a presentation from Wakefield’s SME Business Growth Officer and site visits to two local businesses, with time allowed for questions and discussion between partners. The China Partnership between Wakefield Council and the city of Xiangyang was discussed in detail in the afternoon. 

The second day was devoted to the study of the Wakefield Bondholders Scheme. Partners were keen to explore how the scheme worked and network with bondholder businesses in order to gain a thorough understanding of how the scheme is managed and the impact it has had for businesses and the Wakefield district. The day began with presentations around Bondholder membership, management structure, main activities, legal framework, scheme history and the management of PR and communications. The day continued with a site visit to Production Park where the partners learned more about one of the key international bondholder businesses and enjoyed a tour of the site. Events concluded with a highlight tour of The Hepworth gallery and attendance at the Business Week Finale Event hosted by Wakefield Bondholders, where partners had the opportunity to network with multiple Bondholder businesses and to discuss their experience of the scheme.  

Partners are now in the process of engaging with their Local Stakeholder Groups to share their learning from the study visit. Partners will also evaluate their experience of the study visit and the feedback gathered from this exercise will help to assess the effectiveness of the study visit and inform the organisation of future study visits.