12 July 2017 Interview

What you need to know from the CBI/Lloyd's Bank MSB Summit 2017

Get five key insights from the entrepreneurs who are driving mid-sized businesses throughout the UK

Productivity, living standards, Brexit, the Internet of Things and regional decision-making were hot topics for debate during the CBI’s 2017 MSB summit.

The event, which was chaired by former BBC Breakfast host and journalist Declan Curry, was dedicated to the 33,000 mid-sized businesses that play a strategic role in forging the UK’s economy.

Speakers included:

  • Chairman of John Lewis Partnership Charlie Mayfield
  • Mexican ambassador, Julián Ventura
  • Beauty industry entrepreneur, Liz Earle
  • Margot James, MP parliamentary under Secretary of state, department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Dan Winn, Head of IoT, Vodafone UK
  • Jon Wrennall, group CTO of Advanced
  • Andrew Bester, group director and chief executive, Commercial Banking, Lloyds Banking Group

The summit is designed to allow pioneers from mid-sized business to hear from experts within their space, network with others and  develop a deeper understanding of the technologies driving change within British business.

We take a look at five of the key issues that captured the attention of the speakers and delegates who attended.

1. Productivity

Welcoming delegates to the event during in her opening address on the topic of productivity, CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn insisted the current climate is crucial for these organisations: “MSB's are playing a vital strategic role in re-balancing the economy. The CBI are good listeners and there has never been a better time for listening.”

2. Brexit

Not surpisingly, the question of Brexit was high on the agenda for both speakers and delegates. “Brexit will only work if all Britain’s businesses are firing on all cylinders,” said Fairbairn.

Entering into the debate, John Lewis’ Mayfield also contended that he felt the issue of productivity was more pressing than that of leaving the European Union, insisting: “The productivity opportunity is one businesses have to grasp.” 

3. Putting the customer first

Fashion and beauty entrepreneur Liz Earle passionately stressed that businesses must “never lose sight of the consumer.

 “One customer telling another about us, acting as our brand ambassadors - best way of building brand,” she said. “Chase your customer, not profits."

4. Innovation

Earle was also enthusiastic when it came to the topic of technical disruption and championed the concept of employing tech-savvy individuals under the age of 25 within an organisation.

This sentiment was echoed by Jon Wrennall, CTO, Advanced. "It might be a testing time for Britain, but the evidence is showing that rather than, ‘keeping calm and carrying on’, we are actively embracing digital."

For more from Advanced, read his community piece in our latest insight piece.

5. International reach

Mexican ambassador Julián Ventura was another key speaker for the day, arguing that companies from his region have the potential to act as a partner to British entrepreneurship as the country prepares to jump from the 14th largest economy in the world to the eighth.

The event was supported by Lloyd’s Bank, Advanced, E.on and Vodafone.

Watch video interviews with speakers from the day 

 

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