SWBC Quarterly Conference – New Year, New Board: Driving Growth for the South West


Time: 9:00am – 2:00pm

Venue: Exeter Racecourse

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/new-year-new-board-driving-growth-for-the-south-west-tickets-92360417495

This is a key meeting for the region and we encourage all member organisations to register at least one delegate.

A slightly earlier conference start than normal (9.30am), with a Bucks Fizz welcome from 9.00am (in addition to usual teas, coffees and pastries), you’ll be able to meet the new Directors of SWBC and hear about our new strategic projects and partnerships for 2020 and beyond. These include initiatives with the West Midlands and the UNESCO North Devon Biosphere, and SWBC’s launch of its groundbreaking Advisory Services offering for the South West. Crucially, this will be an opportunity for SWBC members to engage directly with the Board, and to comment and discuss our priorities and key activities for the year ahead.

The first half of the conference will close with a SWBC Board Panel, with Julie Hawker leading a discussion on employability, equal opportunities and digital skills. Julie is a SWBC Director, Joint Chief Executive of Cosmic, Chair of the Heart of SW Digital Skills Partnership and a key regional influencer in all-things-digital, skills and digital leadership.

After the coffee break, we’ll be joined by invited representatives from Chamber organisations, the FSB and other business networks.

SWBC is working closely with Devon’s ‘Be Ready’ Employer Hub Service to increase disability awareness for employers, and to highlight the benefits of a more diverse workforce.

To celebrate the launch of this new service, we’re delighted that Mike Adams OBE, Founder and CEO of Purple and #PurpleTuesday will join us as our keynote speaker. Mike was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his services to disabled people, and he regularly appears in the annual ‘Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List’. Mike is frequently on TV, radio and social media advocating greater inclusion.

There will be a number of other guest speakers, and an overview of the new ‘Be Ready’ Employer Service.

All delegates are then welcome to join us for further networking over a buffet sandwich lunch from 12.45pm to 1.15pm.

For the final session we are delighted to welcome as our guest, the Great South West partnership. The region’s three Local Enterprise Partnerships, seven county and unitary authorities, six universities and major businesses are partnering with SWBC to launch the Great South West Prospectus within the region. Speakers will include Bill Martin, Editor of the Western Morning News and David Ralph, CEO of the Heart of the South West LEP, followed by a Q&A with the audience.


  • 9:30 – 9:35 Welcome; Robin Daniels, CEO, SWBC
  • 9:35 – 9:50 Chairman’s update – National issues of regional significance; Tim Jones, Chair, SWBC
  • 9:50 – 10:15 Projects, Partnerships and Progress – SWBC in the year ahead; Robin Daniels | Presentation
  • 10:15 – 10:45 Meet the Board – a panel discussion and Q&A with the new Board of SWBC; chaired by Julie Hawker, SWBC Director, Joint CEO of Cosmic & Chair, Digital Skills Partnership
  • 10:45 – 11:00 Skills, Employment & Growth; Julie Hawker | Presentation

Coffee break 11:00 – 11.30

  • 11.30 to 12.45 – Be Ready Employer Hub service launch | Presentation
    • Guest speaker Mike Adams OBE (Founder and CEO of Purple and #PurpleTuesday) | Presentation
    • Mike Matthews (MD of Lineal Software Solutions Ltd) | Presentation | Video link

Lunch 12.45 – 1.15

  • 1.15 – 2.00 Great South West Prospectus Launch Bill Martin, Editor-in-Chief, Devon and Cornwall Reach PLC and David Ralph, Chief Executive, Heart of the South West LEP | Prospectus