One of the traditional curtain-raising networking events of the new year has confirmed it will return for 2021 - albeit virtually.
The popular Kent and Medway Business Summit returns for its fourth year on January 15 with a focus on business resilience, renewal, innovation and strategies for a return to growth.
Hosted annually by the University of Kent’s Kent Business School, in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Institute of Directors (IoD) and Locate in Kent , the summit brings together some 400 businesses, academics and policy makers to debate key themes.
And top of the agenda will be the latest developments on Brexit and the government's response to the pandemic - and how it impacts business in the county.
To be held completely online, it will harness cutting-edge virtual conferencing technology provided by Remo to recreate the physical experience.
Expert speakers confirmed so far include: Professor Anand Menon, from UK in a Changing Europe; Dr Roger Barker, director of policy, at the IoD; and the Bank of England's Phil Eckersley.
More speakers will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
The dean of Kent Business School, Professor Marian Garcia, said: “At this extraordinary time, we have never needed more the opportunity to come together virtually to drive forward a clear vision for our county. We need to look to the future and to collaborate to provide a strong platform for growth for business of all size and in all sectors.”
Deborah Turner, FSB area leader, added: “Over the past few years I have always gained useful insights and information, both personally and professionally from the summit and look forward to doing so again in the New Year.”
Tickets to the summit cost £10 with places limited to 400.
James Gardner, vice chair of IoD Kent, said: "This year has been a constant supply of unexpected challenges, but also one from which we can all take many valuable lessons. The summit will be vitally important to provide connections for our business community, bringing us together to share what we've learned and support one another."
Gavin Cleary, CEO at Locate in Kent, concluded: “This is an excellent opportunity for the business community of Kent and Medway to re-group, share what we have learnt over the last few months and plan for the future, moving forward to recovery and renewal. Despite recent challenges, we have proven ourselves to be remarkably resilient, and together we can show the wider UK and the world, that Kent is ripe for investment and open for business.”
Train firm Southeastern are confirmed as sponsors.
Chris Vinson, Southeastern Railway said: “This event comes at an important time, as communities and businesses across Kent reflect on the challenges of 2020 and how they will play their part in our country’s economic recovery. Public transport has been particularly affected by Covid-19, and all of us at Southeastern will continue to play our part in ensuring that key workers, businesspeople and their employees can travel with confidence.”
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