Hundreds of business people attended Marketing Derby’s annual business event last Friday at Derby Theatre.
Our very own Print Evangelist, Yvonne Gorman, was honoured to be on the panel alongside leader of Derby City Council, Paul Bayliss; Margaret Bruce, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Derby and Liz Coffey, principal of Landau Forte College Derby.
John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby kick started what was to become a truly inspiring event with the exclusive preview of Derby’s brand new investment movie. A fantastic presentation followed by Andrew Wilcher, General Manager of Medartis UK Ltd – a Swiss company that has recently moved it’s Yorkshire operations to Pride Park.
But no one expected what was to follow; a truly inspirational speech from Geldard’s Chairman; David Williams – one that exuberated passion, genuine intent for the city and humour and all this from a lawyer! David’s enthusiasm for the city has generated lots of discussion points at meetings and events following the Derby Theatre session.
Focus then turned to the Q&A session, where Essential Print Services’ owner took to the stage.
Here’s a round up of the questions asked and Yvonne’s responses, which are her own viewpoint and from personal experience:
Paul Norbury, Office Senior Partner, PWC asked, ”Derby has some of the best examples of innovative businesses in the UK, especially when it comes to technology and engineering. What can Derby learn from other UK cities to ensure that this continues, particularly as we start to see an upturn in the economy?”
“Derby is the Uk’s leading hi-tech city, 12% of Derby’s workforce is employed in hi-tech jobs – 4x the national average. So I think its not so much what we can learn from others, but what other cities can learn from Derby. Before the event this morning, I was talking to Graham Bennett from Lunar 21 and he summed it up nicely, ‘Derby is big enough to have the idea and small enough to see it through’.
The days of being overshadowed by our East Midlands counterparts are well and truly over. With the proactive work of the Marketing Derby team, I believe the city, now, has the confidence, the ambition AND the ability to one the leaders and pave its own way through the economic growth, showing others how its done. So yes, be aware what others are doing but like David said, we should not be afraid to dream and try something new because Derby does it so well.”
Liz Fothergill , Managing Director, Pennine Healthcare Ltd asked; “Traditional high streets up and down the country are facing major challenges with closures, vacancies and too many low quality uses. Does the panel believe that city centres have a future and, if so, how can councils and businesses work together in making this happen?”
“I believe there is a future for the high street. The business community must be creative though. Creative in the way they market themselves. Especially if consumers are using shops as showrooms and then buying online. Equally, the council must not shy away from initiatives like Small Business Saturday, a government backed scheme where people are encouraged to spend their cash in small independent stores on the high street – which would certainly help the likes of Sadler Gate where you find some the smaller retailers but where footfall has sadly decreased.
As part of December’s SBS, I was lucky enough to be invited to Downing Street to represent Derby’s small businesses. I listened to others about how their home towns were working together to create a hive of activity and how much their community had benefitted. I felt a little embarrassed, like Derby had completed missed the boat. Some councils have even agreed to offer free parking near small businesses one Saturday per month. So if any of the council members or retailers here today would like more information about it, then I’d be more than happy to help them launch something similar in Derby because its been such a success elsewhere.”
Yvonne’s response to this question aroused applause.
Graham Bennett, Chair of LightSpeed Derby asked; “Apparently Derby is the third happiest place in the UK. That’s according to analysis of 100m photos held by Instagram, the on-line social networking service. If you had a magic wand, what would you like communications technology to do, to help your business grow and make you happy?”
I’d love to walk around the city of Derby and be able to have access to free wifi with ease BUT luckily, for us we don’t have to wait for an magic wand because I believe that’s happening now!
Thanks to the fantastic work carried out by the likes of yourself Graham & your team at Lightspeed Derby, and also the launch of Surf the City; we DO have the ability to connect to free wifi. This will enable people to communicate easier, use social media and enable businesses to push advertising to people’s smart phones.
If we have the likes of The Financial Times describing Derby as ‘the city of festivals’ we need to take advantage of this. So when we have events such as Derby Feste, we should be encouraging people or even incentivising them to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest to showcase the city and utilise that free advertising from the general public. Instead of Derby being the third happiest place in the UK, we could be No 1!”
Yvonne has since received an influx of emails, messages and tweets from local people who were there on the day – all of which are full of positive messages of support.
“Since Friday, I have been overwhelmed with messages of support – its truly incredible. There was so much energy and passion from people in the room all with a common purpose; to help make Derby a great place to live, work, create jobs and grow businesses. With all this in mind, 2014 has no option but to be an awesome year.” Yvonne concluded.
If you’d like more information about the event or would like to discuss your print requirements, contact Yvonne Gorman on 01332 418377.