With ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, Happen Events, an end-to-end event management company run by three Newcastle Business School students, is looking to provide some real answers for North East businesses.
Aimed at the regional business community and backed by global financial services provider Santander, the ‘BREXIT: For or Against, you must be EXIT ready’ conference will look at the impact and opportunities of Brexit for North East businesses and how they can best prepare for withdrawal from the European Union.
High profile guest speakers at the conference include James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, John Carroll, head of international business at Santander Corporate & Commercial Bank speaking about exporting opportunities for North East SMEs, Ben Gutteridge, head of fund research at Brewin Dolphin and Ben Martin, founder of the Brexit Tracker Tool.
They will be joined by an expert panel representing North East business, which includes Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle Central, James McDonagh, director EMEA at Frank Recruitment Group, Neil Warwick, head of EU and competition at Square One Law and Lucy Winskell OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Employability & Partnerships) at Northumbria University.
Together they will discuss emerging markets outside of the UK and offer insights into how North East businesses can capitalise on emerging opportunities.
Josh Ellwood, managing director at Happen Events, added: “The idea for the Brexit conference stemmed from the number of SME and start-up businesses we’ve met which described how unprepared and uninformed they felt.
“This influenced and shaped the content of the conference and we are delighted to have secured the support of such high calibre speakers. It is nothing to do with being for or against leaving the EU, it’s about helping North East businesses to be Brexit ready. Through the event, our aim is to provide expert advice and insight to local businesses on the national and international opportunities available to them, whilst addressing their current concerns.”
James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “Whilst the details of any Brexit deal are not known, it is very hard for businesses to plan for their future. It is clear, however, that almost all businesses will be impacted in some way.
“Any guidance for businesses is welcome as they do need to consider their options and be prepared to act swiftly once the outcome of current negotiations is known. I congratulate Happen Events for working to help other businesses to be better prepared.”
The Happen Events team are three second year students on the innovative Entrepreneurial Business Management (EBM) programme run by Newcastle Business School. The trio aged between 20 and 25 are Josh Ellwood from Leicestershire, Angus Currie from Newcastle and Patrick Rycroft from Cumbria.
They have also teamed up with the pioneering diagnostic tool ‘Brexit Tracker’, which gathers intelligence and reports on how the multi-dimensional layers of Brexit are impacting organisations. All conference attendees will receive access to tailored Brexit reports to support those who want to grow in a post-Brexit world.
Lucy Winskell OBE, said: “This is a bold and enterprising initiative by our students and I applaud them for their entrepreneurial flair and drive. They have put together a conference of huge significance and attracted some of the most influential business figures in the region to speak. Northumbria is rated the UK’s top university for graduate start-ups by turnover and Happen Events is typical of this success.”
In a public vote, the Happen Events team have also been shortlisted as finalists in the Small Business of the Year category at the Newcastle Awards 2018. The winners will be announced on 9 April.