Business Summit 2021 proves a huge success for county

Sam Wood
Sustainability was a key theme of the summit.

More than 300 delegates joined the virtual Kent and Medway Business Summit 2021 to enjoy 5 hours of collaboration, inspiring speakers and networking.

Organised by partners, the University of Kent, Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors and Locate in Kent, the digital event on Friday 15 January brought together key policy makers with businesses large and small to create and share a vision for the region.

Speakers included Kent County Council leader, Cllr Roger Gough, Deputy Chief Executive at Medway Council, Richard Hicks and CEO at Locate in Kent, Gavin Cleary.

They all shared an exciting future for Kent and Medway with news on inward investment, support for jobs and business plus the bid for Medway to be the UK City of Culture 2025.

At a national level, the summit heard from speakers including Prof Anand Menon, regular Radio 4 contributor and director of UK in a Changing Europe, who spoke about the UK’s new political relationship with the EU, and it’s impact on business.

Director of Policy from the Institute of Directors, Dr Roger Barker, gave insights into the latest from the Government’s response to Covid-19.

Final keynote of the day was given by global tech pioneer, Rana el Kaliouby, who spoke about Emotion AI and its impact on society and businesses.

In addition to the keynote speeches, delegates took part in workshops on innovation and productivity in the region’s food and drink sector, the future of our town centres and high streets, the development of digital skills in the region and creation of a sustainable infrastructure.

In each workshop businesses heard from experts in the field including the chair of the Government’s High Street Task Force, Mark Robinson, managing director of Southeastern Railways, David Statham, Jonathan Parker, managing director of Kent-based firm Foodari and tech expert Lizzie Hodgson.

Using the world-leading virtual platform, Remo, delegates were able to move freely across three ‘floors’ of a digital conference centre, interacting and networking.

Professor Marian Garcia, Dean of Kent Business School which leads on planning the summit, said: ‘The past year has been extremely challenging for a number of sectors, so was important that the Summit provided a platform at this pivotal time for businesses to come together with policy makers to create a shared vision for Kent and Medway.

‘It was inspiring to hear the work our local authorities and agencies are doing to ensure the renewal of the region and to see the clear passion and resilience of the business communities.

‘Thanks to our Summit partners and sponsors whose support made the event possible.’

Headline sponsors of the Kent and Medway Business Summit 2021 were Kreston Reeves. Supporting sponsors were Kayo Digital, Canterbury AI, British Business Bank and Southeastern Railway.

For full list of agenda and speakers go here: