500 delegates attend annual Greater Lincolnshire LEP Conference

Businesses should work together across a range of sectors to make the most of Lincolnshire’s emerging opportunities – that was the message from the annual conference of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership last week.

Almost 500 people attended the event on July 12 at the Lincolnshire Showground, where 25 leading experts from a variety of sectors took part in animated and far-reaching discussions on Lincolnshire’s emerging opportunities.

The conference featured seven expert panel discussions on Lincolnshire’s emerging opportunities as well as a tailored keynote speech by BBC TV journalist Susannah Streeter.

The LEP also unveiled its Annual Report and launched a call for new funding bids, an Energy Strategy for Greater Lincolnshire and the #GiveAnHour campaign to encourage businesses to support young people in their careers.

Ursula Lidbetter OBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, opened the conference by outlining the LEP’s achievements over the past year and its ambitions for the year ahead.

Then Susannah Streeter, a former RAF Squadron Leader and now anchor and presenter for BBC Business News, gave a keynote speech in which she contrasted some of the negative economic forecasts post-Brexit with the exciting challenges of creating a low-carbon economy, embracing digital tech, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and feeding the world’s population.

On the main stage two Grand Panels discussed capitalising on Greater Lincolnshire’s rural challenges and opportunities for industry leadership.

In the networking zone five additional expert panels tackled the visitor economy, future-proofing the food sector, transitioning skills into a changing work environment, rural energy pilots and rural health and care.

Ursula Lidbetter said: “It was fantastic to hear such renowned experts in their fields discussing our emerging opportunities in such an insightful and constructive way.

“The energy in the room was palpable throughout. These panel discussions have become the hallmark of our annual conference and it’s clear that many of the important conversations we began on Friday will be continuing outside of the conference.

“On Friday we had our biggest ever attendance, a record number of expert panels and panellists and some very high-quality exhibitors. The feedback we’ve had so far has been excellent and I’d like to thank everyone who attended and all those who helped to organise this fabulous conference.”

Susannah Streeter added: “It was inspiring to see just how much enthusiasm and determination there is to ensure Greater Lincolnshire doesn’t just succeed but provides national leadership at at a very challenging economic time.”

Lewis Stringer from event sponsor the British Business Bank commented: “I had a fantastic day at the conference – we met some really interesting businesses and I hope we get a number of applications to the Midlands Engine Investment Fund as a result!”