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Ambition in Abundance

6th - 6th March 2024
12:00am - 12:00am
Bonus Arena, Hull
Ambition in abundance

We welcomed over 120 network members to the Bonus Arena, Hull, for our first Bondholder Breakfast of 2023, on Monday 6th March.

We were delighted to be joined by a fantastic host and panellist line-up: Deb Oxley OBE DL, Oxley Works, Rich Quelch, John Good Group, Lloyd Tidder, Language is Everything Ltd, Sue Altass, Inspire Ignite, plus Megan Hornby, Owner, Club Candy, and current candidate on The Apprentice.

The event brought SMEs and big businesses together, exciting and inspiring delegates by celebrating the pivotal role of SMEs, entrepreneurship and innovation in the success of the Humber. Key issues of scaling up and the vital need to embrace change were discussed.

Event host, Deb Oxley, set the scene, presenting the pivotal role SMEs play in innovation, success and contribution to UK Plc and highlighting the three key challenges faced by SMEs; sustainability, developing a healthy workplace culture, and the changing digital world.

Deb recognised that Humber businesses acknowledge they have a role to play in decarbonising the region, referencing the University of Hull's Aura Innovation Centre findings that 80% of the Humber businesses all agree businesses have a responsibility when it comes to the environment.

In terms of workplace culture, Deb noted the challenges of balancing hybrid working, taking on freelances, attract and retaining talent, employee wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, and developing leaders of the future.

Rich Quelch shared John Good Group's exciting progression plans, recognising its fast-forward phase. He discussed the business's mantra of 'people, planet, performance' and noted how 'a force for good relates to planet and people'.

Lloyd Tidder, Language is Everything, shared both his own and the business' inspiring stories. From Apprentice to Managing Director in 6 years, Lloyd has seen Language is Everything develop into a business with 1,000+ translators, providing a current total of 2.1 million minutes of interpreting services, delivering on its mantra 'to ensure that the inability to speak a language is never a barrier to communication'. He shared how the business has built itself a young award-winning workforce and outlined what it took for the business to become a recognised 'Great Place to Work'.

Sue Altass offered an insight into the background of her business, Inspire Ignite, and discussed how it has become a national business with UK-wide associates making a difference. Sue praised the Humber as a great place for aspiring SMEs: 'There are some amazing businesses in the Humber that are willing to help you grow your business and offer mentoring.'

Megan Hornby joined the panel to share her inspiring experience of setting up 'The Candy Shop', at 23, making and delivering sweet-boxes during the pandemic. The business has now evolved into a thriving café bar, 'Club Candy'. Megan, of course, shared some insight into her The Apprentice experience, noting how she found the TV show life-changing and the hardest thing she has ever faced, but that it has taught her resilience and that success isn't always the result of being the loudest voice in the room.

Our brilliant panel of speakers explored key themes and shared how innovation and adaptation, across all areas of business, can and does lead to success even during times of uncertainty. Our region's inspiring case studies promoted now as a critical time, full of opportunity.

We welcomed Hull and East Yorkshire Mind to the event to share more about its Stepchange workplace wellbeing project:

The project allows businesses to offer their staff members 1-2-1 support with their mental health whether that be on site or external to the business. It also allows staff members to refer themselves to the support. Through the project the participants will get bespoke support to suit them along with the change to upskill in certain areas should they want to. Because the project is funded through East Riding of Yorkshire council it will be free to all participants. There is also some possibility of mental health talks or training courses. Any businesses who would like to find out more can contact Anthony via email to arrange a time to talk.

View the leaflet here.