Invest in Cumbria

Our Strengths

Cumbria is a vast, complex and diverse County; a place where international business sits comfortably alongside unspoiled beauty. The County comprises six districts, each with their own strong offer to businesses.

As Cumbria's "capital" and major commercial centre, Carlisle boasts a vibrant mix of business sectors ranging from manufacturing and logistics to retail and tourism. The 'Great Border City' is a key gateway between England and Scotland and due to its direct links to the West Coast Mainline and M6 motorway, has become one of Britain's primary logistics centres and home to multi-modal specialists Stobart Group, guardians of the cherished Eddie Stobart brand. Pirelli Tyres can also be found in the city alongside biscuits makers McVities and specialist provider to the oil, gas, petrochemical, nuclear and renewable energy sectors, Bendall's Engineering. Hadrian's Wall, a World Heritage Site, and Carlisle Castle stand testament to turbulent times along England and Scotland's once lawless border region. The predominantly rural districts of Eden and South Lakeland are both areas of outstanding natural beauty, where the world-renowned Lake District National Park and the famed Yorkshire Dales National Park can be found. Understandably they are hotspots for tourism, welcoming millions of visitors each year to enjoy landscapes that inspired the likes of Wordsworth, Ransome, Wainwright and Postman Pat creator John Cunliffe. Beyond tourism, other thriving sectors include agriculture, food and drink, outdoor recreation and education, digital and creative, and renewable energy. Gilbert, Gilkes & Gordon, one of Britain’s oldest manufactures of small hydropower systems, is based in Kendal; while Sundog Energy, a leading national supplier of solar photovoltaic systems, can be found in Penrith.

Along Cumbria’s coastal fringes known as Britain’s Energy Coast lie the historically industrial towns of Barrow-in-Furness (Furness district), Whitehaven (Copeland district) and Workington (Allerdale district); all key areas for the specialist manufacturing and energy industries. In Barrow BAE Systems Submarine Solutions manufacture the world’s most advanced submarines, while the town has become home to a dynamic cluster of LED manufacturers, software engineers and developers, candlemakers and award-winning artists and film makers. In recent years the seas off Barrow have welcomed hundreds of wind turbines, with some of the largest in the world currently under construction, and more are planned as part of the Centrica’s Zone 9 of Round 3 development in the Irish Sea. In addition to wind, Barrow is also the base for numerous oil and gas operations, with the Port of Barrow helping to support these and many more industries in the town and Cumbria.

A pioneering spirit is woven into the fabric of West Cumbria, as home to the first ever Bessemer converter at Workington and the world’s first civil nuclear power station Calder Hall, near Whitehaven. The area remains at the cutting-edge of the global nuclear industry and has witnessed a surge in inward investment activity from specialist providers of products, such as robotics, and services to aid the decommissioning of Sellafield, helping to generate billions of pounds for the local economy. A new chapter is set to open after the Government identified a site adjacent to the existing site as suitable for a new nuclear power station. West Cumbria also boasts Robin Rigg windfarm, operated by E.ON, and has seen a number of anaerobic digestion schemes put forward in recent years. Beyond the energy sector, global sportswear brand New Balance and M-Sport – the company chosen to mastermind Ford’s assault on the World Rally Championship – are based in the area. Tourism is another growing sector with regeneration funding used to put the sparkle back into the Georgian gem of Whitehaven, picturesque Maryport and the outdoor enthusiast mecca of Keswick.