‘We need to get better at ambition’ – Leaders call for confidence at Norfolk Day business summit
PUBLISHED: 12:28 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:19 02 August 2018
The value of collaboration, the need for more ambition and six simple lessons for getting Norfolk’s voice heard – find out what leaders discussed at the first Norfolk Day business summit hosted by EDP Business.
Marcus Hemsley said Norfolk needed to get “better at ambition”.
“This is a solid business community but everyone is sharing best practices, the only thing we need to be better at is ambition and we need to filter that down to the younger generation,” he said.
“I tell people to get on the train, get down to London and start selling themselves there, to start competing.”
Sir Chris said some effort should be made to improve “east-west” connectivity”.
“London is a hub but from Norwich we need to be able to access Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh far better than we can at the moment,” he said.
Ms Fairbank agreed that businesses should set their sights further afield.
“We have some brilliant businesses offering
products and services to the rest of the world – Norfolk is not your only market,” she said.
Mr Oakley said export was an “under-developed area” in Norfolk. “Businesses that export are more successful but people are nervous about doing it. But being in more markets increases your chances of success.”
Gareth Oakley said Norfolk had a “good reputation for collaboration”.
Sir Chris Harper said this collaborative spirit had helped to build the aviation academy.
“If you have a good idea, the location, the heritage and the drive, organisations like UEA, City College [Norwich] and Norfolk County Council come together in that classic Norfolk community way to make it work. That power, that drive, that dynamism is what has generated this place,” he said.
Simon Coward said collaboration in the form of sector clusters could also help business development. “We can grow better together than we can on our own,” he said.
Marcus Hemsley, originally from Kent, said it was the supportive nature of the Norfolk business community which encouraged him and Fountain Partnership’s three other directors to set up in the county rather than London. He said: “The business owners here took the time to mentor and show us how to do things.”
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Each guest left viewers with their own takeaway lesson to improve Norfolk’s business standing.
Gareth Oakley, Lloyds Banking Group managing director, business banking: “Businesses should be focused on continuing improvement, how to be better every single day. They need to collaborate not just across their own sector but the whole community.”
Nova Fairbank, public affairs manager at Norfolk Chamber of Commerce: “Stop apologising, aim higher and get out there to show what you are doing.”
Sir Chris Harper, Aviation Skills Partnership eastern regional advisory board chairman: “Think that every opportunity out there is an achievable one.”
Jeanette Wheeler, partner at Birketts and New Anglia LEP board member: “Engage with the business community, collaborate, train and promote. There is so much going on and for me the message has come loud and clear that we need to know what our narrative is.”
Simon Coward, managing director at Hethel Innovation: “Identify the schools around you and knock on their doors – build a relationship with them and find a way to engage with students and fire them up to consider working in your business.”
Marcus Hemsley, co-director at Fountain Partnership: “If you are young, find a mentor. If you are older, be a mentor and keep getting your message out there.”