9:00AM – 1:00PM
Lunch & networking from 1PM




In our landmark year, join us as we launch our new GBSLEP Clean Growth Programme. You'll hear how GBSLEP can support your business or organisation to reduce your carbon footprint to achieve net zero targets whilst maximising on commercial growth opportunities.

At ‘Designed to Deliver’ you will also hear what GBSLEP has achieved over the last decade, from improving skills across the region to the creation of jobs and investment in projects. We will illustrate our future plans that reflect the Government's ambitions of investing in infrastructure, skills, innovation; the transition to net zero and the vision for a Global Britain.

For 10 years, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across the country have harnessed the energy and expertise of leaders from 2000 businesses, 180 local authorities and 250 higher/further education organisations. These unique partnerships have brought key decision makers together to drive forward inclusive economic growth in our regions. Together we increase, improve, and implement infrastructure, productivity, skills development, and business support in a targeted way providing lasting benefits for our people and our places.

Join our annual conference on Wednesday 24 November 2021, for a celebration of 10 years of collaborative and unique business-led success in delivering support for the region’s economic growth and job creation. It will be followed by our AGM.

Local businesses, alongside public and education sector partners, are invited to attend the free event with guest speakers, panel discussions, entertainment, refreshments (breakfast and lunch) and networking. 

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2000 businesses, 180 local authorities and 250 higher/further education leaders


Headline Speaker
Scarlett Allen-Horton, Finalist of BBC's The Apprentice and Founder of Harper Fox

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Scarlett is an International Executive Search Recruiter, finalist of acclaimed BBC's The Apprentice and business partner to British business magnate Lord Sugar.

Scarlett is founder of Solihull-based Harper Fox Search Partners, which provides diverse executive search solutions for the global energy and engineering sectors. She will share how innovation has helped her become a top-performing business and how The Harper Fox Pledge helps local young people into training, education and employment through The Prince's Trust.

Conference Host
Joanne Malin, Journalist, TV presenter and Bromsgrove resident

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Joanne is a Birmingham girl - having been born in Moseley, she grew up in Hall Green and since returning to the region 23 years ago to work as a journalist has lived in Shirley, Alvechurch and now Bromsgrove.

She’s currently on the presenting team for BBC Midlands Today but previously her journalistic career has seen her front programmes and news bulletins on television and radio, for the BBC, Reuters, Sky News and ITV Central.

She won the national Harold Wincott Award for Business journalism for a series she wrote, produced and presented for ITV called Malin Means Business and has been honoured by the Royal Television Society three times.

Keynote Speaker
Shaun Sookoo, Star of Channel 4's The Money Maker and Founder of Winny's Kitchen

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Following The Money Maker, Shaun has boosted profits and a created an innovative new brand to take his Caribbean flavours and family recipes to a new level.

Hear how Shaun has used local business support and grant funding to help catapult Winny's Kitchen's new jerk sauce onto the shelves of supermarket giants; Morrisons and Booths.

Shaun is also an author and founding member of Little Black Truth – a platform to educate and inspire positive change.

Tim Pile, Chair of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP)

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Tim holds a number of non-executive responsibilities, following on from his executive career in retail, banking, professional services and marketing. In addition to his role as Chair of GBSLEP, Tim is a Non-Executive Director of Marshalls Plc and Deputy Chairman of The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

He also serves on the Board (and is a past president) of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and is on the CBSO Development Board.

Anita Bhalla, Deputy Chair of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP)

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Anita is Deputy Chair of GBSLEP. She is also Chair of B: Music, the Creative City Partnership, Governor of the RSC, Member of the Council of Warwick University, Non-ex Director of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Trust and Chancellor of Birmingham Children’s University. Chair of the WM Mayor’s Leadership Commission.

Anita’s media career has been extensive of which over 25 years with the BBC; from setting up the BBC Asian Network to a news correspondent, documentary maker to being Head of Political and Community Affairs in England followed by Head and Editor of the BBC’s Public Space Broadcasting and President of Circom (a European wide group of public service broadcasters).

Ed Watson, Interim CEO of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP)

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Ed Watson has spent most of his career in Local Government and is now Director of consultancy EW&A which provides strategic planning, place and political advice to a range of public and private sector clients.

He was integral in the reinvention of Kings Cross in London where he worked closely with Argent to deliver homes, jobs and infrastructure culminating in the investment of £1billion by Google in new offices and securing the arrival of The Crick. The Euston Strategic Board was set up by Ed Watson and he has also been at the helm of the high-profile West End Partnership working with businesses, communities and the Mayor of London.

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Growing up my dad ran his own hydro-demolition business in Birmingham, a firm that is now run by my brother and sister-in-law. Being part of a family firm gave me a really keen interest in business in this region from an early age, so I’m delighted to compere this event marking the first 10 years of the GBSLEP.

Joanne Malin, Conference Host

Panel Sessions

Delivering Clean Growth -
What does the business community need to achieve net zero targets?

Panel Chair

Henriette Breukelaar
Director of Economic Strategy at GBSLEP


Conor Taylor
Creative Director, Foresso


Lydia Barnstable, BSc PGDipTP MRTPI Regional Director - AECOM and Transport Planning District Lead for the Central Region


David Horsfall
Director, Tyseley Energy Park

Delivering a Future For Young People -
How do we create opportunities for young people to create an inclusive future?

Panel Chair

Sophie Drake
GBSLEP Board Director for Young People


Kari Lawler
Multi-Award Winning Entrepreneur, Public Speaker and Forward-Thinking Futurist


Suzie Branch-Haddow
Vice Principal of External Development, Birmingham Metropolitan College



Delivering Business Support -
How can GBSLEP Growth Hub help your business to grow and become more resilient?

Panel Chair

Ed Watson
Interim CEO at GBSLEP


Surlender Pendress
Co-Founder, The Love Writing Company


Ian McLaughlan
Director, GBSLEP Growth Hub


Ewa Truchanowicz PhD FRSA
Managing Director, Dignio and Board Director for SMEs, GBSLEP

A huge welcome to the conference's entertainment

Black Voices is the leading all-female collective, globally celebrated for bringing their unique form of a cappella music in the Black oral tradition to the world stage. Such is their critical acclaim and respect amongst the music industry, that Black Voices has opened concerts for some of the greatest names in music including Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Take 6. Celebrating the Queen of Soul, Black Voices team up with a stellar four piece band to cover a range of Aretha classics. For this short performance Black Voices and band will perform excerpts from their Aretha show, take you on a trip down memory lane and capture the spirit of Aretha Franklin.

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The event has now finished.

About Us

Established in 2010, the GBSLEP is a partnership of business, public sector and further and higher education leaders. Over the last 10 years our collaborative and unique business-led approach has enabled us to identify, develop and deliver our priorities to support inclusive economic growth and job creation within the local area, for maximum benefit to the local economy as a whole and local communities.

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