ENGLAND cricket captain Andrew Strauss and the man who invented the World Wide Web are two of the guest speakers heading to a glittering event in Bridlington tomorrow.
A sell-out crowd of more than five hundred of the region’s leading business men and women will be at the Bridlington Spa tomorrow **(Fri 10th)** to hear an array of top speakers at this year’s Yorkshire International Business Convention.
This is the third year that the event has been held in the town, for the previous three years it was held in Hull, although the Convention itself is now in its 16th year in Harrogate and during that time has attracted speakers such as Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sir Bob Geldof, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Neil Armstrong and George Bush Senior.
All of the speakers are flown by helicopter between the two sites to ensure all of the delegates get the chance to be inspired and entertained by some of the key leaders in world politics, business, sport and show business.
The Convention was the brain-child of Yorkshire business entrepreneur Mike Firth. “I got the original idea after visiting the Bakersfield Business Conference in America. That event regularly attracts the leading political figures in the world, including just about every American President in living memory, and if you attend that event you can’t help but feel you are in a very special and privileged position.
“That has always been one of my aims with the Yorkshire Convention. For anyone to be able to say I saw and heard from a former President of the United States, or the man who helped destroy apartheid, or the first man to step onto the surface of the moon, has got to be special and ultimately I believe that’s why the delegates keep coming back.
“But when you are dealing with business leaders in this region you can’t simply give them a good story, and every one of our speakers has been chosen because what they have achieved and the way they have achieved it carry lessons that can mean the difference between success and failure for any business.
“I’m delighted but not surprised to see how successful the Convention has been since we expanded to East Yorkshire . Bridlington is a fantastic venue and creates a very special atmosphere on the day and the character of the business community in this part of the region are really what makes the event such a success.”
KC, part of the Hull-based KCOM communications group, are the lead sponsor for this year’s event at both the Bridlington and Harrogate venues.
“KC have always been really supportive of the Convention since we first split the event across Yorkshire and Humberside” said Mr Firth, “ and I’m absolutely delighted that by becoming lead sponsor this year they have recognised and reinforced the importance of the event for businesses not just in the region but throughout the business world.”
This year’s line-up of speakers in Bridlington tomorrow is headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, The British physicist and entrepreneur responsible for inventing the World Wide Web and in the process changing the lives of billions of people across the globe. Time Magazine has named him as one of the one hundred most influential people of the 20th Century.
Mike Firth said: “Since the event began we have had some of the most powerful, inspiring and influential political and business leaders in the world speaking to the delegates, but in terms of directly impacting on individual lives this guy is in a league of his own. Because of the web virtually every one of us has fundamentally changed the way we communicate, socialise, shop, learn, work and play.”
Andrew Strauss has been captain of England cricket test team since 2008 and this year led the team to a memorable Ashes victory in Australia: the first England team to win the Ashes in Australia for 24 years and the first to achieve a record-breaking back-to-back Ashes win.
Mike Firth said: “It’s the chance to hear from a natural leader whose success on the sporting field is all about motivation, inspiration and leadership and those are exactly the qualities any successful business needs at the top, so whilst I’m sure the stories Andrew will tell will be hugely entertaining he will also have some really important leadership lessons for the delegates.”
A former Royal Marines officer who has become one of the world’s leading divers and explorers as well presenting a number of critically-acclaimed television programmes including a nine-part series on Channel 5 called ‘Great Ocean Adventures’.
Mike Firth said: “Monty is a great speaker and has some great stories to tell, but he’s another person who leads with inspiration and given the dangers he has faced in his life he’s got some important things to say about survival and winning.”
Caroline is a self-made property investor and millionaire who was born in Lusaka in Zambia but now lives with her family in Swindon where she is a partner in Platinum Property Partners, the world’s first property investment franchise. She took part in Channel 4’s programme ‘The Secret Millionaire’ spending a week living in the Toxteth area of Liverpool.
Mike Firth said: “The theme of this year’s event is winners and winning and Caroline is living proof that whatever your business background, if you have determination, entrepreneurial spirit and self-belief you can succeed.”
Chairman of Arup which has been involved in some of the world’s landmark building projects including the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing, but also a company which has an unconventional approach – no shareholders as such – and a reputation for creating two or three new businesses every year.
Mike Firth said: “This is someone I’m really looking forward to listening to. It’s not just that the company has achieved so many amazing things but also the unique nature of the business – what it does and how it does it. Terry is someone every delegate will learn from.”
Born in Northern Ireland Roy is a man of many talents. He worked as a riveter at the world-famous Harland and Wolff shipyards, spent seven years in the British army and was Northern Ireland champion hammer-thrower for two years in a row and went on to represent his country internationally. But it’s as a comedian and television presenter that he is best known, and particularly for hosting the television quiz show Catchphrase for 13 years.
Mike Firth said: “This year’s Convention is all about winning in a tough economic climate. That will be the focus for most of the speakers, but I think everyone agrees that laughter is the best medicine and I know that bringing in Roy Walker will ensure that’s the case.”