Ex-MP’s ‘work together’ plea over business challenges

John Denham 2

Former Southampton Itchen MP and Cabinet Minister John Denham has joined the line-up of acclaimed guest speakers at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s fifth annual conference this autumn.

Also on the podium at the one-day Roots to Growth event is Formula One world champion turned organic farmer Jody Scheckter. He will be interviewed on stage by compere for the day, Dr Adam Marshall, Acting Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce.

The conference, at the Ferneham Hall, Fareham on October 20, is designed to bring members and business leaders together for a day of inspiring presentations and networking opportunities alongside a business exhibition.

Mr Denham, pictured, chairs the non-political, independent think tank the Southern Policy Centre  and is a Visiting Professor and Director of the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Winchester. He will talk about how companies can ‘grow’ their people and skills.

He said: “On the big challenges of developing, recruiting and retaining the best staff, employers need to work together as well as each aiming to be the best they can.

“The transformation of the funding of the apprenticeship system – the new 0.5% apprenticeship levy comes in next April – gives new opportunities for companies to finally be able to shape the training system the way they desire, but only if they work together.”

Mr Denham added that there was also a long-term need for businesses to invest in Hampshire’s arts and cultural development trusts in order to create an environment persuasive enough to tempt and retain potential employees and their families.

He said: “We need a cultural ‘wow factor’ for the county similar to that of Bristol, Brighton or Manchester – and we don’t have it at present. It has been shown that this is as important as individual remuneration packages, yet so many businesses still do not see the value for money.”

In his interview, Jody Scheckter will discuss how to build a successful business from scratch without compromising any ideals.

Jody Scheckter on his Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire

Jody Scheckter on his Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire

The South African-born father-of-six was F1 champion in 1979 and then a prosperous entrepreneur in the USA.  He now owns the UK’s largest buffalo herd on his multi-award winning 2,500-acre organic Laverstoke Park Farm at Overton near Basingstoke.

Other speakers include:

Gary Jeffries, Chairman of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and a Partner with property consultancy Hughes Ellard.

David Stevenson, Head of Alt Finance UK, will address delegates on alternative ways of funding business growth.

Andy Stanford-Clark, information technology research engineer who leads a research team at IBM will talk about ‘The Internet of Things’ and future business opportunities.

Sandra Sassow, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Hampshire-based SEaB Energy, manufacturer of waste-to-energy systems.

Leanne Stewart of Fareham-based niche publishing company Mercator Media will be looking at Growing Your Customer Base.

Gail Thomas, of Nursling-based speciality metal supplier TW Metals who will be speaking on the opportunities for Export following Brexit.

There will also be a panel of experts including Kevin Stansfield of ActionCoach, Gary Jeffries, David Stevenson, Andy Stanford-Clark and Steve Driver of Spirit Circuits answering questions on challenges to growth.

The Roots to Growth conference begins with a working breakfast at 7am around Brexit and the opportunities. The guest speakers’ programme begins at 9am before concluding with a buffet lunch until 2pm.

The conference is backed by financial experts Smith & Williamson and Action Coach Business Coaching. The event also includes business exhibition stands.

The conference costs £30 +VAT to Hampshire Chamber members and £40 +VAT for non-members. To book a place visit http://tinyurl.com/hkjfm6w  or call 01329 242420.


Notes to editors

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce is the independent voice of local business across the county and one of the largest regional business networks in the UK.  It brings together the combined influence, strength and expertise of Hampshire’s three former major chambers of commerce. It works with over 2,000 individual firms spanning all sectors and sizes of business. For more information, visit www.hampshirechamber.co.uk or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hantschamber.

HCC is affiliated to The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), a powerful network of 52 accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. For more information visit www.britishchambers.org.uk

Media enquiries to Cliff Moore, Deep South Media, on 01202 534487 or cliff.moore@deepsouthmedia.co.uk.