LIVEtalk – Forum #BI21.2

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#BI21.2 Access to finance Forum

Wednesday 3rd March | 10:15am

Richard Holling, Commercial Finance Advisor, Dales Finance

An experienced business executive with 30 years of business and financial services experience. Richard has worked as a consultant, sales executive and manager for several major international companies.

In 2018 he changed focus and started to work with start-ups and SMEs. In 2019 he formed Berkshire Dales, which offers SMEs advice on getting the right business finance, and other consulting services.

Access to finance, is a key business function and fast-changing, whether a sole trader or an established significant business.

Digital innovation and Fin-tech provides greater transparency, but the basics haven’t changed. Building a business takes investment and strong financial management.

Putting digital innovation together with long standing core disciplines of business finance creates a strong financial background that allows entrepreneurs, innovators and business owners the tools needed for a successful, sustainable business model.

The discussion is held around a virtual boardroom style table amongst those professionally involved.  The Chair will invite input from the observers at various points during the forum discussion.

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#BI21.2 Procurement Forum

Wednesday 3rd March | 12:30pm

Steve Bates, Owner, Auditel

Steve is a strategic procurement specialist based in Calne, Wiltshire, UK who helps businesses to improve profits and cash.

He also helps business owners and financial directors to free up time so they can focus on running their businesses.

Goods and services bought from suppliers can account for over two thirds of a company’s spend. The importance of procurement teams’ interaction with supply chains to identify risk, drive cost control, and gain spend visibility has never been higher.

How should businesses bidding for work with clients in South Gloucestershire approach procurement issues? What are the hot topics?

The #BI21.2 – South Gloucestershire Focus Procurement Forum will look at 2021’s procurement trends and how SMEs should adapt to meet buyers’ expectations.

 Topics for discussion will include:

  • Sustainability, environmental awareness, ethics: what are buyers’ expectations?
  • Resilience in supply chains: how can suppliers meet buyers’ needs 
  • How important are automation and innovation in supply chains of the future?


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#BI21.2 Climate & Environment Forum

Thursday 4th March | 9:45am

Caroline Aistrop – Greenspark PR & Marketing

A zoologist by background, Caroline specialised in delivering PR, communications, behaviour change and campaigns for a range of organisations.  She’s also been an environmental journalist at the BBC’s Natural History Unit producing a natural history news programme for Radio 4, and reporting for BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s award-winning countryside & rural affairs programme. 

Caroline even trained volunteers to run a community radio station, she now runs her own green PR agency, Green Spark, creating content for clients.

The demand for a green recovery post-Covid-19 is growing in urgency and being heard from all quarters. But is this really feasible? Is becoming greener onerous and costly for a business? A panel of South Gloucestershire businesses will share their experiences of embedding sustainability, and discuss the reality from all viewpoints: ethics, profits and practicalities. During this Forum discussion, we’ll explore:

– why they’re going green

– the effect on the bottom line  

– reactions from staff 

– reactions from customers 

– practical implications 

Whether you’re just contemplating the move to the ‘green side’ or are some way down the road, join us to gain insight, inspiration and advice on what is becoming the issue that most consumers want the corporate world to tackle. 

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#BI21.2 International Trade Forum

Thursday 4th March | 10:00am

Development of International trading opportunities comprises one of the most important routes to building a strong economy.

Our International Trade Forum brings together professional advisors and businesses involved in international trading from across the region.

Following a very difficult year in 2020, with Covid 19 lockdowns, Brexit and some of the most challenges we have ever known, the business community is now thinking about the recovery that we can look for over the coming months and years.

For #BI21.2 we are looking especially at the food and drink sector and the scope for developing export opportunities in different places around the world.

Chair: Roger Mackrill, Sabre UK Ltd

Following an extensive career in automotive, aerospace, nuclear power engineering and senior management in US, UK, Europe, India and China, Roger is the director and founder of Sabre UK Ltd. Founded in 2007.

With abundant experience as Quality Director, Managing Director in a wide range of global corporations, including GM, Rolls Royce, SKF, ISMT India, Kalyani Group India and Changan Group China, Roger is an experienced professional guiding clients through strategic direction and planning to enter and establish presence in Asian markets.

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#BI21.2 Employment & Skills Forum

Thursday 4th March | 10:15am

Skills Training – how do we fill the gaps?

Our employment and skills forum brings together a cross section of business professionals, employers and recruitment professionals in a boardroom table style discussion. With a prepared agenda, we will be looking at skills gaps, how they can be filled and by whom.

There are 20 observer seats available on a first come, first served basis via Eventbrite. Observers will not be engaged in the core discussion and will for the most part be muted during the discussion. Questions can be posted in the Chat Box and will be answered at specific points in the meeting.

If you have any questions for the Panel prior to the event, you can email them to (please quote the Event title in your email).

Chair: Steve Ackroyd, Director, The Job Guru

Steve passionately feels that employers and job seekers suffer from a lack of knowledge about how recruitment works. Jobseekers are not taught how to find a job and employers are not taught how to find a new employee, it’s amazing anyone gets hired!

A recruitment professional with 2 successful recruitment business, a member of REC – the Recruitment Federation and an Enterprise Advisor, Steve uses his experience and knowledge to help give employers and job seekers the knowledge they need to find each other.

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#BI21.2 Engineering & Manufacturing Forum

Thursday 4th March | 2:15pm

Sian Thomas, Founder, Integrow Sales Solutions

Sian Thomas is the Founder of Integrow Sales Solutions a sales consultancy for manufacturers.

She develops and implements business growth programmes to share best practice and useful resources to enable many more businesses to scale and grow sustainably. This focuses on creating the right message for the right person at the right time to improve customer conversions. More importantly it places significant emphasis on customer retention resulting in predictable revenue generation for the business.

Sustainability is moving its way up the priority list for a vast number of engineering and manufacturing companies and is seen as a crucial component of maintaining competitive advantage. 

Environmental sustainability and / or sustainability of economic growth, how can we ensure we adhere to one principle without adversely affecting the other? Can the two objectives be achieved without compromise?  Environmentally sustainable practices are important to a business’s ability to maintain its growth position

So what does this mean for our engineering and manufacturing sector? And what does a company need to bear in mind to ensure it has a sustainable platform? The business insights forum will look at the opportunities and challenges of pursuing a sustainable policy in context of an organisation’s operations.