I am writing this week’s report on the back of another hugely successful British Expertise International – Meet the Ambassadors programme. Before going into more detail about that and with last Friday’s newsletter dedicated to the D-Day anniversary, I thought I would first pick-up the briefing from last week.

Wednesday 5th June “The Future of Smart Infrastructure in the UK” Andrew Wyllie CBE President of the Institute of Civil Engineers.
Andrew started his talk by reminding us that we are firmly in the 4th Industrial Revolution and that it is technology and not bricks and mortar that will drive the changes in Smart Infrastructure. He also reminded us that it was the Regulatory Bodies that were asking 3 key questions: How do we increase the capacity of the network? How do we improve Customer Service and providers must ensure security of supply? Finally, all of this must be provided with no additional money. There was also a very wide-ranging debate concerning the speed of change, the necessity for CEOs to have a very clear vision and the skills we require to face the future.


Now to this week’s events and it must be a first for 23 Grafton St to have welcomed in one day 50 of HM’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners from around the World. They met some 300 companies in Ambassadorial groups to update them on and discuss business opportunities in a range of export markets in Asia, South America, the Middle East, North and East Africa, South East Europe and Central Asia. What came across was a palpable eagerness to look beyond current domestic UK pre-occupations and really start to drive export opportunity for UK enterprise. It’s not a task without its challenges and there was lively debate between those present as to what was working and what not in current HMG Trade engagement with business, but all conducted within an atmosphere of great determination and positive, collaborative engagement. Plenty of follow-up to do and keep these connections live and engaged with the membership.

Not to be overshadowed by yesterday’s events, Tuesday saw the latest in the ‘Brexit Breakfast’ series, in which we invite all shades of opinion and expertise to discuss their views with small CEO groups. Whatever the debate around Change UK or on her determined position on the need for a ‘people’s vote’ one cannot deny Anna Soubry’s personal bravery in sticking to her beliefs nor her very persuasive take on the hard facts of parliamentary and EU negotiating life facing the next Tory leader.

It has been a busy last few days so I would like to wish the team here at Grafton Street and you all a very relaxing weekend.

Best Wishes,


James Jones, Director of Account Management

Event highlights:

Tuesday 18th June 2019 – BEI
Major Sporting Events Infrastructure Opportunities 
Andrew Bacchus, Lead, The Sports Economy DIT
Damon Lavelle, Principal, Populous
Jon Coxeter-Smith, Founder and CEO, Sagacity MCS Limited

Wednesday 19th June 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Blockchain – Applications in Infrastructure and Supply Chain Management 
Haydn Jones, Founder and Managing Director, Blockchain Hub

Wednesday 26th June 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Northern Powerhouse Rail in the context of the Strategic Transport Plan
Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport of the North

Tuesday 2nd July 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Achieving transparency and flexibility in government procurement 
Rupert Soames OBE, CEO, Serco

Tuesday 2nd July 2019 – MEAG Reception
MEAG Reception 
Sanam Vakil, Middle East North Africa Programme, Chatham House

Wednesday 3rd July 2019 – The D Group Dinner
Dinner with Michele Dix CBE, Crossrail 2
Michele Dix CBE, Managing Director, Crossrail 2