Dear Members and Friends,

The weeks seem to flash by the moment, perhaps it’s the shorter days or perhaps just the general busyness of 23 Grafton Street? Either way there seems to be a lot going on. 

Monday we hosted Julius Court, Head of the Prosperity Fund Management Office at the FCO, to discuss the Cross-Government Prosperity Fund with over 60 members and guests. The £1.2bn fund promotes economic growth in developing countries. Its priorities include improving the business climate, competitiveness and operation of markets, energy and financial sector reform, and increasing the ability of governments to tackle corruption. Julius gave us an update on the status of the programme to date and has promised to return in the new year to provide details on how we utilise the newly appointed framework, once the set-up is complete. I am certain the room will be as full again and the waiting list just as long.


On Tuesday, we hosted Ben Houchen, the first Mayor of the newly created Tees Valley Combined Authority, for lunch as part of a flying visit. Ben, a former solicitor and businessman, was keen to emphasise the value he placed on ‘spades in the ground’: delivery, not vision, is very much his raison d’etre. To this end, he listed a number of infrastructure projects he’s keen to get off the ground over his three-year term; whether the complete redevelopment of the Darlington and Middlesbrough train stations, a new bridge over the river Tees, or a new Darlington bypass, the region clearly has a great deal to offer our membership in terms of business opportunities.

Rona Fairhead.jpg

I attended the second official Infrastructure Exports UK (IE:UK) Board Meeting hosted at ICE and Co-Chaired by Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State, Department for International Trade, and James Wates, Chairman of Wates Group. IE:UK is a partnership with 17 of the UK’s leading infrastructure firms collaborating to develop ‘UK Plc’ end to end solutions for complex projects, with HMG support. The meeting moved on a number on concepts and demonstrated very well how UK companies collaborate for the greater good. Sectors covered in this meeting included reports from sub-groups on Airports and Rail, with updates on possible projects for future support. Each sector group will continue to develop the opportunities and once agreed, we will be reaching out for supply chain support.


This week we also welcomed Derrick Sanyahumbi who has joined our team as Director of International Development. Derrick will be working with Nigel Peters until his planned retirement at the end of the year before ‘going it alone’ in 2018.  Please drop him a line if you would like to fix a meeting to catch up on a one to one basis, or join us at a forthcoming meeting when we will fix an introduction. Derrick will be contributing to the newsletter with his thoughts on his first month in a couple of weeks.

Please check our Calendar for details of meetings and events. Sign up is easy and we would very much like to see you.


Best wishes to all.


Tracey Smith - Deputy Chair, Strategy International


Event highlights:

Wednesday 22nd November – D Contemporary
Made Visible - David Cottingham
Exhibition Private View

Thursday 23rd November – Middle-East Access Group
Ambassadorial Lunch – Ambassador for the Arab Republic of Egypt
HE Mr Nasser Kamel, Ambassador for the Republic of Egypt

Wednesday 29th November – D Group Dinner
Inside the social media revolution: what business leaders need to know
Elizabeth Linder, Founder & CEO, The Conversational Century

Thursday 7th December – D Group Lunch
H.E. Mr. Joonkook Hwang
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea