Over 100 Norfolk businesses, large and small, came together this morning to discuss the economy from both a local and a national scale at a bustling Norfolk Chamber breakfast at Dunston Hall, sponsored by Steeles Law.
Attendees heard a presentation from John Longworth, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce, who provided an overview of key economic issues facing businesses across the country, including the Eurozone and USA. Mr Longworth commented on the confusing economic data coming out of Government. He felt that the data was “not inaccurate but incomplete” and was causing businesses to lack confidence in investing.
He felt that access to capital remains key to economic success, as was the funding of infrastructure rail, road, aviation, energy, digital and of course skills. Mr Longworth complimented Norfolk Chamber on its campaign work and emphasised the need for the Chamber network to continue to make the business case to government and to “hold people’s feet to the fire” if they try to avoid addressing the key issues.
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North and Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, highlighted three areas that are essential for economic growth at a local level, namely infrastructure, in particular rail, young people and export. Ms Smith emphasized the need for local businesses to work together with the Chamber to get behind the new Norfolk Rail Prospectus as there is a window of opportunity to get the business voice heard.
John and Chloe then went on to interact with several Norfolk businesses by holding a Q&A session and addressing the questions and concerns of a varied audience.
John commented “I was delighted to be speaking at the Norwich Economic Breakfast. The economic climate is of concern to businesses of all sizes, though many tell us things aren’t as gloomy as newspaper headlines suggest. I enjoy hearing from members, and will do all we can at the British Chambers of Commerce to ensure the government listens to what Norfolk businesses need to grow, and contribute to a strong economic recovery.”
Chloe commented “As a local MP and minister, economic growth for Norwich, Norfolk and the country is my top priority. I make it my business to understand business, and so I was delighted to join the Chamber for such an informative event.”
The breakfast also featured a very special guest, Nelson the Gorilla, who was there to highlight the work the Chamber is doing with the charity Break. Aiming to have 50 Gorilla sculptures around Norwich in 2013, Break have launched their ‘Go Go Gorillas’ project and are looking for the support of Norfolk businesses to sponsor a sculpture.
Nelson’s cousin, Horatio, will be being painted live at the Chamber’s forthcoming B2B Autumn 2012 event, taking place on 18 October at Norwich City Football Club, with a special guest appearance from Jake Humphries, an Ambassador of the ‘Go Go Gorillas’ project.
To view photo's from the Norwich Economic Business Breakfast, visit the Norfolk Chambers' Facebook page.