Coventry and Warwickshire business leaders address region’s Covid recovery

Conference 1

Business and civic leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have come together – in person and online – to address the key issues facing the regional economy as it rebounds from the Covid-19 crisis.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Business and Economic Conference at the IXL Events Centre in Southam in front of an audience of 150 in the room with a further 100 joining online.

The event, which was headline sponsored by Prime Accountants Group with WCG as supporting sponsor, was based on a theme of ‘Against All Odds’.

It heard from a range of business people from a variety of sectors as well as regional MPs and the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.

The conference heard how the economy is recovering from the pandemic but also discussed a range of issues that are holding back growth, including inflation, skills and recruitment problems and supply chain issues.

The event was hosted by Dr Adam Marshall CBE and heard from Chamber president Tom Mongan and Atul Lakhani, the managing director of the IXL Events Centre.

An economic and social landscape panel included Mark Berrisford-Smith, Head of Economics at HSBC UK; Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council; Monica Fogarty, Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Council; Declan Allen, Managing Director of HORIBA MIRA; Angela Joyce, Principal & CEO Of WCG; and Steve Harcourt, Director of Prime Accountants Group.

There were also video contributions from Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust; Andy Street, West Midlands Regional Mayor; and Nadhim Zahawi MP.

Jeremy Wright MP told the room that the hybrid model being utilised for the conference was ‘here to stay’ and that businesses’ contribution to society was vital for the good of the region before the keynote address from Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE.

He said: “It was great to speak to businesspeople in Coventry and Warwickshire at the Chamber’s Annual Economic Conference at a time when companies are looking to rebuild after such a difficult couple of years.

“There are massive comparisons between business and sport. It’s important to have a vision of what you want to achieve, a team that buys into that vision and is focussed on delivering success.

“Winning Olympic gold medals always grab national and international headlines but some of the processes behind achieving that success can be replicated in business.

“I wish all of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce members the very best in achieving their business goals over the coming weeks, months and years.

“Their success will help to drive economic growth in their region, which will be good news for everyone.”

Louise Bennett OBE DL, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and High Sheriff of the County of the West Midlands, said: “It was great to be able to bring businesses across our region together face to face and, also, to be able to host our conference online.

“It was a chance to reflect on the fact that businesses and individuals have faced an incredibly difficult year-and-a-half and have, against all odds, survived and are now looking to grow again.

“That growth, however, is being held back by a number of issues that need addressing as a matter of urgency and we were fortunate to have such a distinguished group of contributors from the public and private sector to explore what is needed to move our economy forward.

“We also heard about some of the opportunities for the region – from digital through to sustainability – and that Coventry and Warwickshire is in a prime position to lead in those areas which will benefit our economy and wider society.”