British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference Summary

British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference, 14th March 2013

DHL was delighted to support the BCC Annual Conference, Business is Good for Britain – Building a New Model Economy, which took place just one week ahead of the most crucial Budget in decades. This is our summary of key points raised, with a particular focus on ‘the global opportunity for Britain’.

Storified by DHL Express UK· Fri, Mar 15 2013 10:22:27

BCC Annual Conference is about to get underway #BCCConf
Featuring speakers at the heart of the business growth agenda, the conference brought businesses and politicians together to debate what measures are needed to build a ‘new model economy’ for Britain. High-profile speakers include Vince Cable, Ed Miliband and Lord Heseltine. 

We’ve arrived at Central Hall and are looking forward to hearing a great set of speakers at #BCCconf Express UK
First to take the stage was Director General of BCC, John Longworth, who opened the conference by celebrating the success of British businesses.
Do we have the creativity, the enterprise and the capacity for hard work in the UK? YES! – John Longworth #BCCConfBCC
John Longworth credits the number of British businesses who have exported their goods and services overseas #BCCconf #export13DHL Express UK
John Longworth says British businesses have what it takes to trade with ROW: "we’re a service champion across the globe" #BCCconfDHL Express UK
#bccconf John Longworth – Britain is the service sector champion across the world.Jaqui Fairfax
“@GdnSmallBiz: John Longworth gives credit to a number of British businesses who have exported their goods and services overseas #bccconf”Lamia
But he was quick to move the focus to calling on the government to do more to help British businesses. He makes reference to South Korea, using the country as an example of an economy that ‘is not blessed with natural resources, nor is part of a major political bloc like the EU, but is growing fast because of successive governments who have put business at the front of its national policy’. He even made a reference to Gangnam Style! 
‘Britain held back by politicians’ says BCC’s John Longworth at #BCCconf. Read @TelegraphNews article here
We must take charge of our own economy, our own destiny – John Longworth #BCCConfBCC
Upset that John Longworth, DG of BCC, did not give us a performance of Gangnam Style. #BccConfLaura Coleman
@britishchambers John Longworth Director General just finishing his speech – can’t say i disagree with much he said #BCCConf spot on!Kirsty McGregor
There was one thing that came out of John Longworth’s speech that particularly impressed us: 
Fantastic figures from #BCCconf: percentage of @BritishChambers network who are exporting has increased from 22% to 39% in just 15 monthsDHL Express UK
I’m at @britishchambers today – amazing export support. 22% of members to 39% exporting in just 15 months #BCCConfAnne Fairweather
Next up, the PM David Cameron joined us via video link with a brief message emphasising the importance of UK exports and the work that British Chambers of Commerce and UKTI do. 
David Cameron delivers his video message #BCCConf
David Cameron speaking at #BCCconf via video message: "I am delighted that businesses, @BritishChambers & @UKTI are working together to growDHL Express UK
David Cameron on video link : our country is in a global race and British Chambers of Commerce vital for our growth #bccconfGuardianSmallBiz
William Hague MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, was next to face the audience and again highlighted the importance of getting Britain exporting and the role the Foreign Office plays in doing that. 
William Hague says ‘we must increase exports to grow economy’ #BCCconfDHL Express UK
William Hague: #bcc campaign is "business is good for Britain" and our government couldn’t agree more #bccconfGuardianSmallBiz
William Hague promises #BCCconf much greater support from FCO for UK exporters, especially in the fastest growing international economies.James Ramsbotham
Hague: "Unless my team are doing something that meets one of 3 objectives I don’t want them doing it" … #BCCconfDHL Express UK
Hague’s 3 objectives: 1. Protect our security 2. Enhance our prosperity 3. Support British citizens overseas #BCCconfDHL Express UK
Hague says there’s 300 extra staff from foreign office in the world’s fastest growing countries #BCCconfDHL Express UK
Hague: "We now export more to countries outside the EU than those in the EU" #BCCconf #Export13DHL Express UK
Hague: "UK exports potato chips to USA, cheese to france and sand to Saudi Arabia" #BCCconfDHL Express UK
The audience then took part in a quick poll, voting:
58% of audience say the government could do more to support export & that the biggest barrier is knowledge of the markets #BCCconfDHL Express UK
Following William Hague was DHL Express’ VP Sales, Neil Kuschel, who discussed opportunities for British businesses in developing markets across the world. The audience was particularly amused by his metaphor of businesses being like frogs…
Neil Kuschel – businesses are a bit like frogs – put them in boiling water n they’ll jump out, heat slowly n they’ll sit there… #bccconfHenriettaB
#bccconf Kuschel DHL – put a frog in boiling water it will jump out but if you put it in a pan of cold water & heat up will boil to death!Jaqui Fairfax
Loving DHLs frog analogy of british industry in terms of export! #BCCconf #frogsruleSally Rose
@dhlexpressuk Interesting SME anecdotes from Neil at #BCCConf this morning.Aldermore Bank
Neil Kuschel, VP Sales, DHL Express talks at the #BCCCONF – how DHL hopes to support ambitions of UK businesses in international export.Bizcrowd
Neil: "It’s not nearly as hard to export as businesses think, even to Russia" #BCCconf #export13DHL Express UK
Neil Kuschel talks about the niche markets small business can carve out when big companies won’t – @dhlexpressuk #BCCConfBCC
Neil Kuschel of DHL Express talks about how big a role exporting has to play in growth of British business #bccconfGuardianSmallBiz
"The demand for British goods around the world is incredibly high." Neil Kuschel @dhlexpressuk
Kuschel: royal wedding, Jubilee and Olympics exported the British brand around the world #bccconfGuardianSmallBiz
Neil Kuschel of DHL says we underestimate reputation & demand for British goods overseas #BCCconfRoss Smith
#bccconf Kuschel – the demand for British branded goods is extremely high – we undervalue ourselvesJaqui Fairfax
Getting like-minded businesses together is key to breaking down barriers to exporting says DHL’s Neil Kuschel. Chambers can help. #BCCConfCharlotte Ritchie
A particular focus for Neil was the market of Australia. If you need advice on trading with Australia, we’re hosting a Twitter Q&A on Thursday 21st March at 9.30am. Find more info here:
Neil: "Make the most of the vibrant market of Australia while you can – don’t underestimate the opportunities" #BCCconf #export13DHL Express UK
Too tip from Neil Kuschel ‘shipping to Australia will be a vibrant market for British goods for the next year-18months’ #bccconfHenriettaB
Tip to biz from DHL at #BCCConf – Australia is ‘great place’ to export now – unique time re exchange rate, local taxes, demand for UK goodsLouise Armitstead
#BCCconf Next Thurs we’re hosting a Q&A on trading w/ Australia. Get your q’s answered by pros under #export13. More: Express UK
He was also the first to touch on the subject of enterprise and apprenticeships. 
First mention of apprenticeships today! Woohoo! #BCCconf #heathrowapprenticeSally Rose
Neil is the first to talk to the #BCCconf crowd about #enterprise: "DHL has taken on 20 fantastic entrepreneurs"DHL Express UK
Neil: "I encourage businesses to take on apprentices; young people have less to lose so they get out there and do it" #BCCconfDHL Express UK
Thanks Neil @dhlexpressuk for your shout out to the @HeathrowAirport #Apprentices watching #BCCconf in the audienceabigail morris
Our DHL Guide that Neil’s referring to can be found at: #BCCconfDHL Express UK
The high-profile speakers just kept on coming as next to the stage was Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, who discussed Labour’s approach to SMEs and introduced the party’s plan for regional banks.  
@Ed_Miliband speaking "SMEs are the backbone of British economy" #BCCconf Business
Ed Miliband thanks the British Chamber of Commerce and the "excellent work" it does for British business #bccconfGuardianSmallBiz
We’re about to hear from @ed_miliband on Labour’s plans to boost business. What do SMEs want to hear from the opposition? #BCCConfAldermore Bank
Miliband says he’s at #BCCconf to talk about Labour’s approach to business & SMEs – the backbone of the UK economyDHL Express UK
.@Ed_Miliband highlighting SMEs role in the economy as ‘the recovery made by the many.’ #BCCConfAldermore Bank
Miliband calls for new banking system, new business skills system, investment in infrastructure, to get recovery on the way #bccconfGuardianSmallBiz
Banks there to serve Britain’s businesses. Britain’s businesses aren’t there to serve Britain’s banks: Miliband
Miliband reveals big labour policy on banking with the introduction of regional banks to serve regional economies. #BCCconfDHL Express UK
#BCCConf @ed_miliband Labour leader will intro regional banks to serve that region alone, German model, develop British investment bankLinda Yueh
Miliband optimistic about what we can achieve as a nation #BCCconfDHL Express UK
His discussion then moved on to the role that young people play in business and the barriers between higher education and apprenticeships.  
Miliband says there are lots of young people needing work but they don’t have the skills businesses need #bccconfGuardianSmallBiz
.@Ed_Miliband talks about the options for young people the change in culture he hopes to create in the future. #BCCConfBCC
Miliband: we need to change perceptions that degrees are best & break down barriers between businesses and schools #BCCconfDHL Express UK
Throughout the day, the subject of Britain’s position in the EU and where the biggest opportunities for UK business are abroad was touched on by a number of speakers. We’ve pulled out some key points here. 
Plus, 61% of audience believes businesses gain from EU membership #BCCconfDHL Express UK
. @Ed_Miliband makes the case for staying in the EU, esp to build trade links with BRICS at #BCCconfAnne Fairweather
#BCCConf asks Where do you see the most business opportunities in the next 5 years? Top answer = emerging marketsNatWest Business
Great stuff from @lindayueh who says the global economic weight is shifting as BRIC countries will become as important as G7 #BCCconfDHL Express UK
Emerging markets offer greatest potential & we need to refocus our efforts away from eurozone says @lindayueh #BCCconfDHL Express UK
China is the biggest driver of global growth, now more important than the US – @lindayueh #BCCConfBCC
#BCCconf audience polls: business opportunities in 5years time Kitson
Where will future growth come from for UK biz? Most dels at #BCCconf say emerging markets. 56% expect UK economy to improve over coming yr.Tom Hadley
Congratulations to the British Chambers of Commerce who organised another successful Annual Conference, bringing UK business to the forefront of our minds. 
Video message from the PM and now speech from William Hague. Global race is a compelling message I have to say #BCCconfRyan Devlin
.@Ed_Miliband endorses @britishchambers for calling for more support for exports #BCCConfBCC
Good to hear Ed Miliband talking about peer-to-peer lending at the #BCCconf. Sharp speech, no notes. Impressive.David de Koning
Really enjoyed #BCCconf w great mix of biz+policymakers Cameron via video, Hague, Miliband, Cable, Heseltine. Well done to @BCCAdam & team!Linda Yueh
Congratulations @BritishChambers on another successful Annual Conference. We’re off to digest & will post summary on Storify tomo #BCCconfDHL Express UK

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