Dear Members and Friends,
The first of a series of very busy weeks across the Strategy Group. Before that, a warm welcome to D Group's newest member, Highways England and its CEO Jim O'Sullivan.
British Expertise International, and member BRE, kicked off the week with a very well attended and lively session in advance of the BIM focussed mission to Santiago. Excellent contributions from BRE, who have recently set up an Innovation Centre in Chile, Innovate UK and from the British Chilean Chamber of Commerce. Strategy members’ interest in the Latin American region is increasing, and it’s clear that Chile presents an excellent ‘gateway’ to the region with opportunities in all areas infrastructure.
This event was the latest in a series of hugely encouraging Trade engagements over recent weeks with a range of major global trading partners (Nigeria, Egypt, Canada, UAE, China) clearly keen to attract UK technical capabilities.
D Group events occupied the middle of the week, starting with a meeting of our Brexit Group of senior directors and CEO/Chairmen. Geoff Hoon, a past Europe Minister, Chief Whip, Secretary of State for Transport, for Defence and Leader of the House, gave us a thorough take on the messages and direction coming from the two party conferences. This was followed by two stimulating sessions. The first with Professor Jeremy Black, one of the UK's leading historians, examining the strategic challenges facing the UK in what many see as the start of, if not a new Cold War, then certainly one exhibiting a bit of a chill. This was followed by Dr Eliza Filby of Kings College examining the aspirations of ‘Millennials’, the challenge they pose to traditional employment models and how employers can maximise their contribution. We have had a number of events along these lines but this was a stand-out session and I wish every one of our members' CEO's could have been there. We will ask Eliza to return.
Our colleague Ruari Cahill returned from Egypt-another growth market opportunity. British Expertise International was delighted to support a mission to Cairo led by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the PM’s Trade Envoy to Egypt. There is great ambition for major projects to be delivered within the next few years as Egypt meets the demands of a rapidly rising population. Opportunities for UK companies can be found in mass public transport systems, railways, roads and the development of logistical areas.
The week finished with a visit to British Water's annual reception in The City. A hugely knowledgeable crowd, as one would expect from this highly specialist association. BEI, in its IE:UK board member role, will be actively working alongside British Water on a middle-east project where the sector represents a massive Trade opportunity for 'UK PLC’. Water and environment stood out strongly in my regent China visit as a major cooperation area.
Next week the up-beat tempo continues. Ken Clark tells us his take on the Brexit negotiations, the International Development Working Group meets to chew over the latest developments in procurement policy and we look forward to two international market events; a talk from the doyen of the London diplomatic corps, H.E the ever-engaging Khaled Al-Duwaisan, Ambassador of Kuwait, and a visit from our second US State Governor. This time Doug Ducey, Governor of Arizona, home to a few sector clusters close to the heart of our membership.
Finally, I know a number of members and visitors have found some of the art (me included) in our startup gallery, D Contemporary, somewhat challenging - and often rather large. Having spent a busy year of 21 exhibitions establishing the do's and do not’s and - more importantly - what works for the membership, we are mixing things up, to showcase more 'accessible' works. We start with English Artist David Fawcett, a very entertaining depictor of the daily quirks and frustrations of London commuter life. I thoroughly recommend it.
Opening evening is Thursday 19 October 6:30 - 9pm. Wine and canapés. All members of D, BEI, Future Group and BFPG most welcome. Take a look at the works on show here.
Please RSVP to Sophie - firstname.lastname@example.org