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Caroline Williams: Talented business leaders can re-define Norfolk’s reputation

14:36 02 February 2017

Caroline Williams Norfolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive. 

Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Caroline Williams Norfolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

I wrote recently about leadership, and how business leaders can and should have a voice in the region’s strategy.

I said the knowledge and strategic ability of business leaders is there to be used and should not be ignored.

Those leaders have guided and grown businesses, which in turn define the region in which they operate.

We’re no exception. Norfolk is dependent on talented business leaders and we’re blessed to have many.

And the quality of key people here is beginning to create an image of Norfolk that’s more than acceptable – it’s marketable.

Across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, finance, technology and the creative businesses, we have high-profile talent driving cutting-edge companies.

They’re here because Norfolk is a good place to do business.

We continue to campaign for infrastructure improvements, but in truth we are far from inaccessible; and in a digital age we’re connected globally, 24/7.

There’s space to breathe here, and a good quality of life helps fuel the minds and bodies that run our businesses. Those already here are a clear signal to leaders and entrepreneurs everywhere that this county is the place to be.

I’m not trying to suggest that this is a new phenomenon. We have history.

Aviva, and its original formation as Norwich Union; Colmans; Barclays – which began here; Lotus; brands that are burned into the national and international consciousness, and brands that have defined Norfolk.

Now newer organisations are following the same path.

Unfettered, in a digital world, by geographic restrictions, and enthused by the lifestyle, the people and the sheer variety of Norfolk’s facilities, these business leaders and their teams are starting to define us.

They must now become the force of attraction themselves. Their success must draw
others here, so that they
might succeed. And when
they succeed the county succeeds.

You could call it a virtuous circle – but the metaphor is a dangerous one. We must not go around in circles forever.

It’s about changing and moving forward. About innovation.

Because ultimately, it’s innovation that has defined all the leadership that defines Norfolk, and on which Norfolk and its reputation depend.

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