Delivered by the West Midlands cluster lead, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, the high-profile, online event gave the region’s businesses an opportunity to take advantage of the EU-exit changes as we all prepare for a new relationship with the EU.
A range of keynote speakers headlined the event and talked to moderator, Simon Jack, the BBC’s Business Editor and previous presenter of Radio 4’s Today programme and BBC Breakfast, about an increasingly optimistic trading future for the UK, with the focus firmly on how to prepare your business to boost overseas exporting and importing.
Simon was joined by former BBC2 Dragon’s Den panelist Jenny Campbell, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and top 40 business leader and former CEO of Porsche, BMW and Lamborghini, Kevin Gaskell, who all brought an impressive amount of business experience and inspiring advice to the West Midlands audience.
The Mayor, Andy Street opened the event with an uplifting overview of the region and explained how the question of trade is more important to the West Midlands than any other region in the UK. He asked businesses to consider three main areas in order to continue being successful overseas. The first was how to invest as a region and the rules of origin; secondly, the training required in the sectors where we are no longer bringing in people from abroad; and thirdly, the continuation of the vital business EU funding, led by the West Midlands Combined Authority.
He went on to commend the Growth Hubs for their excellent work in providing a united service to West Midlands businesses and delivering a one-stop shop for EU exit support and advice.
Craig Humphrey, managing director of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, said: "We planned this virtual event to help open new markets and opportunities for SMEs in the West Midlands and discuss how to adapt and plan for the future.
“Brexit poses some challenges to SMEs, but there is a great opportunity for the region’s businesses to take advantage of the changes as we prepare for a new relationship with trading partners.
“The end of the transition period has brought the reality of Brexit into sharp focus for any business moving goods to and from the EU. However, West Midlands firms are increasingly optimistic and are getting used to the new rules.
“SMEs have an opportunity to make the most of this new era and plan for their future and we hope the speakers provided them with the impetus to put their ideas into action and boost the regional economy.”
Local business owners, Dan Szor from The Cotswolds Distillery Company in Warwickshire and Stuart Green from Coventry-based, Hydrogarden Ltd, also contributed to the session, by highlighting the challenges faced by SMEs and the strategies that they are using to successfully navigate the new world following Brexit.
For further information about the support available from Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub and the other Growth Hubs in the West Midlands, please visit https://www.wmgrowthhubs-eusupport.co.uk/
There are a series of free, online workshops next week to continue the support with experts who can help you with the topics discussed at this summit, including changes in VAT rules, GDPR and data, rules of origin, movement of people, recognition of professional qualifications, and many other areas of concern. Click here >
Please also join an EU Support Sector Specialists Roundtable on 25 March - This session will be your chance to air your views, raise your concerns and highlight ongoing challenges for your business. In addition, you can pre-book a one-to-one meeting with one of the area specialists to continue any conversations privately. FREE BOOKING HERE >
Finally, please help the West Midlands Growth Hubs by completing a quick online diagnostic about your business – This is your opportunity to help shape the plans for future business support COMPLETE DIAGNOSTIC >