The City Leaders Business Debate was organised by Outset Plymouth, YTKO Group’s business start-up support programme in the City, with the aim of providing an open and dynamic exchange between local business-owners, MPs, Councillors and business leaders. Nearly 100 delegates attended the event, thought to have been the first of its kind to be organised in the city.
CEO Bev Hurley was joined by panelists Alison Seabeck MP; Tim Jones, chairman of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership; Ted Fry, deputy leader of Plymouth City Council; David Parlby, CEO of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce; city entrepreneur Nigel Godefroy; and Gareth Hart, from the Plymouth Enterprise Network.
Western Morning News editor Bill Martin chaired the 90-minute debate, which asked: “What more can the city and the region do to encourage entrepreneurship?
Questions from the floor ranged from whether entrepreneurs are made or born, to advice for new businesses, gender equality on company boards and what Plymouth should do next to encourage entrepreneurship.
Pointing to examples in Sheffield and Rotherham, Moor View’s MP Alison Seabeck said that more needed to be done to encourage public sector procurement for goods and services from Plymouth businesses.
Responding to a question about how entrepreneurship could be encouraged among young people, Bev Hurley said, “Teachers need to know more about enterprise so they can help to plant the seed”, with Tim Jones encouraging business people to become school governors. David Parlby praised school enterprise contests, adding that it was important to get the concept of enterprise and entrepreneurship into schools.
Speaking after the debate, Ms Seabeck congratulated Outset Plymouth, saying: “Well done to Outset Plymouth for staging this innovative business debate. The city needs more of them!”
Following demand from other business leaders in the city, Outset Plymouth, which to date has helped more than 100 people to start their own businesses, plans to stage a second debate later this year.