The importance of Birmingham to the success of 'UK plc' will be highlighted at the Midlands’ largest business conference being held at the ICC.
More than 2,500 delegates are expected at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual conference and industry awards dinner, at which Top Gear’s Richard Hammond will be guest speaker and BBC TV presenter Ashley Blake will be the host.
"Birmingham has been much in the news lately brought on by the debate over which is the UK’s second city", said Jerry Blackett, chief executive of the chamber. "But this conference will prove once and for all that as far as business is concerned Birmingham is where it is at.
"And to attract a new audience at a time when the ‘new’ chamber is emerging we have steered away from the customary black-tie image of our banquet to attract guests from the diverse business community of Birmingham".
Eighty companies will be exhibiting at the conference on March 2, while four major sessions will stress the significance of the city’s business community.
Key sessions throughout the day will be led by experts in their field and will look at property and construction opportunities at the 2012 Olympics, with tips on how to tender for them; the ways in which the fast-expanding creative and art sector is becoming a crucial part of the local economy; skills and motivation in the professional and finance sector, and innovative ideas for the future of manufacturing in the city and beyond.
Independent media consultant Adrian Goldberg will be hosting the professional and financial session and the creative and arts, Rod Ackrill chairman of Chase Norton Construction will host the property and construction seminar, and Coun Ken Hardeman, the city council cabinet member for regeneration, will host the manufacturing debate.
Speakers include representatives from Anglo Irish Bank Corporation, Irwin Mitchell, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pinsent Masons, Urban Splash, the Nanjing Automotive Corporation and KPMG. The awards reflect the themes of the four conference sessions and will reward those businesses which are making Birmingham the top city in the UK to do business.
Sponsored by innovationXchange, the #3million Government investment project managed by the University of Birmingham, the conference will also see the launch of the chamber’s technology and innovation club aimed at keeping small businesses up-to-date on how new technology can reduce costs and improve efficiency by a regular series of seminars.
Mr Blackett added: "Companies in the city have a long history of being innovators and the conference will not only point that up but confirm that that tradition is alive and well and moving Birmingham forward".