Around 200 delegates attended the Kent Business Summit on 12 January 2018 to discuss the challenges and opportunities the region faces as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
The event, organised by the External Services team at Kent Business School (KBS), brought together business leaders and public sector chiefs from across Kent as well as academics and postgraduate students at the University, to help encourage networking and idea sharing among key stakeholders across the county.
Kent MPs Rosie Duffield MP (Canterbury), Helen Whately MP (Faversham and Mid Kent), Gordon Henderson MP (Sittingbourne and Sheppey), and Rehman Chishti MP (Gillingham and Rainham), attended the event ensuring the discussions that took place were heard by those at the heart of government.
There were also talks from a series of high-profile speakers, including David Smith, Director of Economic Development at Kent County Council, Jane Ollis, Chair of the Institute of Directors in Kent, and Jane Ely, the Chief Operating Officer for East Kent Hospitals, looking at the challenges and opportunities the region faces and how these can be addressed.
Greek business leader Vagelis Gizelis also spoke at the event, discussing the challenges his firm had faced after the financial crises of 2008 and how businesses must always look to adapt and innovate in the face of uncertainty to emerge stronger.
University of Kent Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Karen Cox gave the closing address to the event, underlining that it is vital for the region to work together to thrive whatever the future holds and that the University is committed to playing a key role in facilitating the discussions necessary to achieve this through events like the Kent Business Summit.
A series of roundtable discussions took place at the beginning of the day on key issues that businesses in the region need to embrace, such as the art of exporting, leadership in an uncertain world and raising the profile of Kent as a business destination.
At Kent Business School we are now producing a report on the event and will be identifying key avenues for new research on the implications of the UK leaving the EU and other areas of the Kent economy that were raised by those in attendance to help stimulate further discussion.
The conference took place at the University’s new Sibson Building on the Canterbury campus, followed by a networking lunch with the MPs and other senior leaders.