Following its Annual General Meeting, The Institute of Economic Development (IED) have announced the election of a new Chair; YTKO CEO Bev Hurley CBE.
Bev Hurley, who has held the position of Vice-Chair for two years and been a board member of the IED since 2011, replaces Dawn Hudd whose term as Chair has come to an end but will remain a member of the IED board.
Bev started her working life in a London housing association during the 1970s before embarking on a successful entrepreneurial career. In 1999, she joined the YTKO Group, leading it through several years of high growth and innovation, and has championed and achieved equality and diversity in all its public services. In the last decade YTKO has supported over 14,000 new businesses and SMEs. She was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2010 and a CBE for Services to Enterprise in 2014.
Speaking upon her election as Chair, Bev said: “Since joining the IED I’ve learned a lot about the increasingly broad perspective of economic development and the vital role that it plays in the prosperity of our country. I’ve seen how economic development professionals have addressed the challenging effects of our recession, devolution, transition from RDAs to LEPs, Powerhouses, and now the dawning realities of a post-Brexit world. Wealth creation, especially through supporting the creation of sustainable new businesses and scaling existing companies, is absolutely critical to economic development. Having led several businesses of my own through the growth journey, and supported thousands of SMEs to start, grow and access finance over the past decade, half of them led by women, I am passionate about bringing that wealth of first-hand economic development experience to the IED.”
The findings of the IED’s first Economic Development Skills and Demand survey, published this week, also highlighted several key challenges for the profession which Bev is keen to tackle. “There are clear issues to address in terms of recruitment, skills’ gaps, and training and development of economic professionals, both in the current and future workforce. There is also a need for greater awareness and understanding, partly because economic development now encompasses many different activities. We need to ensure that those outside of the Institute fully understand both the vital significance of economic development for the UK and the exciting range of careers available. We will make the voice of the economic development profession louder and clearer.”
Bev also paid tribute to departing Chair Dawn Hudd: “Dawn has steered the IED through a period of change which has seen the development of our corporate membership offer and the first organisations to undertake our Excellence in Economic Development standard. I want to drive forward the adoption of these standards as a badge of quality for the profession which will directly make a difference to our members.”