For the first time this year Hastings Area Chamber were delighted to return to the Sussex Exchange following its recent refurbishment. Despite nudging the start of holiday season, attendance remained high, no doubt in part due to the high profile speakers in attendance.
First off we heard from key note speaker, Chris Brodie, Chair of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP), who joined us with an overview of his varied and prestigious career, what he thought he was getting into and what he has actually has following his recent appointment in March.
Chris started his working life in the legal profession which lead to high profile roles in London and Wall Street corporate finance. His firm ultimately being taken over by UBS, where he progressed to Vice Chairman of the investment bank.
As well as his SE LEP duties Chris also chairs the Student Loans Company and the Council of the University of Sussex, has Co-Chair roles with several other public sector functions plus directorships in a number of private companies.
After a quick canter through his early months at SE LEP; he moved on to challenges of infrastructure investment, employment and skills for the public/private partnership; before considering the as yet unknown impact on funding, following the BREXIT vote, and arguably the more uncertain implications that devolution plans could also bring.
The only real certainty seems to be that he will be spending even more time in political circles trying to lobby and influence them on the priorities for our area, and trying to balance the often conflicting challenges of local and national infrastructure investment with a limited and finite budget.
Following on Fred Thomas, Business Support Navigator for Business East Sussex, provided a lively and informative presentation on the service which started last year.
Using video case studies and testimonials Fred ran through some of the highlights and notable achievements of the first year, including helping over 600 East Sussex businesses and the highly successful #AskFred advisory hour, on Twitter, which has seen over 5 million timeline impressions since its launch.
Lookout for the next #AskFred hour on the 29th September at midday. But if you can’t wait until then and would like to find out how your business could benefit from this free and impartial service simply email email@example.com
To round off, Helen Usher of Stace & Co Estate Agents and Sam Carter from Ashdown Hurrey Accountants, ran through their charity football match being held on Saturday 10th August, at Horntye Park, in aid of St Michael’s Hospice. The family fun afternoon will include two teams of 15 each, including three women on each team, plus a children’s coaching session and penalty shoot-out. For full details and sponsorship opportunities please email firstname.lastname@example.org