Don't see London as a competitor, conference told - Business Leader News

Don’t see London as a competitor, conference told

Bonnie Dean

Bonnie Dean

At a major gathering of business leaders and influencers, held at Ashton Gate, Bristol’s economic and cultural future was discussed.

Organised by Elaine Brown Projects and called Bristol’s Bright Future, attendees heard from a wide range of speakers on a number of topics.

One of the speakers was Bonnie Dean, Chief Executive of Bristol and Bath Science Park.

She said: “If we are to fulfil our potential we have to stop seeing London as Bristol’s competitor.

“It operates in a different sphere and is our biggest asset. People watch London from around the world and we should see it as our headquarters. Let’s get people to London and then show them what Bristol can do. Not many countries have a global asset like London.”

Bonnie ended by saying: “We also need to excite the next generation and persist in our pioneering spirit, as harnessing innovation will be key to our success.”

The tone of the conference was positive, with all the speakers making a strong case for Bristol having a very bright future.

But challenges were highlighed as well.

Zoe Sear, of the Mayoral Initiatives and Partnerships, discussed these: “Bristol has the biggest gap outside of London and also the biggest divide between rich and poor.

“But George (the Mayor) has introduced a laboratory of change with initiatives such as the introduction of the Bristol pound.

“The GreenCapitalCity initiative is also playing a role in securing a sustainable future and in driving innovation and will also secure up to 95,000 new jobs.

“We are building the brand of Bristol as an independent City.”

Business Leader Magazine will be covering the event in full in its next print edition.

The full list of speakers were:

Paul Wilson, chief executive of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Clive Wray, Business West’s director of public service contracts.

Paul Appleby, chair of Bristol Media.

Nick Sturge, centre director SETsquared Centre and director of The Engine Shed.

Bonnie Dean, chief executive of Bristol and Bath Science Park.

Nick Hounsfield and Tobin Coles, co-founders and directors of The Wave UK.

Ned Cussen, property consultant with Jones Lang LaSalle.

Roger Griffiths, a social entrepreneur and chair of Ujima Radio.

Kelvin Davies of BAE.

James West co-founder of Bristol-based Crux Product Design.

Louse Stewart of VisitEngland and

Zoe Sear, mayoral initiatives and partnerships.

The event was chaired by Dick Penny, managing director of Watershed Media Centre.