The LIVEtalk Forums

Our popular LIVEtalk Forum series just gets stronger with every show and makes a real contribution to the business life of the county. 

We have Eight Forum discussions which cover key sectors and areas of business, details can be found in the festival Line-up.

A Boardroom table style discussion chaired by an expert in the sector and with a number of sector professionals around the table, this is an accessible discussion around some of the thorny and developmental issues managed by the chair and to a prepared agenda. The discussion is notated and forms a benchmark of where the discussion has got to.

There are an additional 20 seats in the room which can be booked via our Eventbrite page for an audience who have an interest in the forum. The Chair of each forum will draw the audience, taking questions from the floor.


#SGBS21 International Trade Forum

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

Our International Trade Forum brings together professional advisors and businesses involved in international trading from across South Gloucestershire, The West of England Combined Authority and wider.

Understanding culture, language, protocol and local custom is vitally important to developing long-lasting international trade relationships.

Our forum will discuss, help understand and underpin trading relationships that will build on opportunities to navigate business relations across boundaries.

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.


Welcome to #SGBS21 – Toby Savage

Toby Savage, leader of South Gloucestershire Council, formally welcomes everyone to The South Gloucestershire Business Show 2021 and opens the festival.

South Gloucestershire council are our core strategic partners in delivering the project and we work closely with the Economic Development team to design and deliver a festival that touches on the significant issues affecting South Gloucestershire’s business community

#SGBS21 is held just a few weeks prior to the COP26 UN Climate change conference in Glasgow.  Throughout the whole of #SGBS21, South Gloucestershire Council is leading on a significant thread of events asking the crucial question:

“What steps do all sectors need to take to achieve net zero carbon by 2030?”

Toby Savage, Leader, South Gloucestershire Council

Toby was born and brought up in South Gloucestershire. In May 2015 he was elected as the South Gloucestershire Ward Councillor for Longwell Green. Toby became Leader of the Council in May 2018 and retained the leadership after the local elections in May 2019.

Toby’s background is in communications and as a researcher in local government, planning and housing.

He was a Special Constable with the Avon & Somerset Constabulary for 5 years.


#SGBS21 Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Forum

Diversity in the workplace can be very beneficial for all. The greater
your mix of people brings experience and creativity to boost
innovation and performance. The benefits of diversity however
cannot be achieved without an inclusive working environment.
We will be looking at what it takes for a business to fully embrace diversity and inclusive culture.

We will be considering how SMEs can create and implement a successful plan for diversity &
inclusion, hearing success stories and unpacking some of the challenges
Employment on merit or positive discrimination? What part does personal cultural experience of
owners and decision makers play?

We discuss these following a pandemic year and look at a recovery that allows us to take a fresh
look at the future so that we ‘build back better’ together.

Daniel Wood – Corporate Equalities Officer, South Gloucestershire Council

Dan is the lead officer for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at South Gloucestershire

He has delivered consultancy and training services within the private, public, and voluntary sectors
across the UK and Europe.

During the 1990’s, he was involved in developing the first recognised business assessment and accreditation tool for Equality & Diversity.
Dan has worked with over 300 organisations delivering training and a wide range of consultancy projects. He has also assisted UK Government on issues relating to the development of equality-
based legislation.


#SGBS21 CSR Forum

Social responsibility in business has never been more in the spotlight than at present.

Covid19 has caused havoc across society and the business community has a pivotal role as employers, commercial drivers and influencers.  Charities and the third sector are businesses themselves and have been no less affected.

How are charities and the Third Sector surviving? How do they see the future and in a time when revenues are limited for everyone,  what does survival involve?

Our CSR Forum will take a look at an overview of the sector, how things are looking for 2021 ad what we need to do as a business community to support the wider society’s needs.

Claire Thayers,  Claire Thayers Associates

Claire runs Claire Thayers Associates, her own consultancy business.  She is passionate about social responsibility and working with businesses to make sure they embed their values into their business and communicate to employees, customers and stakeholders.

People sit at the heart of every business.  Claire’s belief is that every department needs time to review their social skills, Marketing, HR, Client Care and New Business, which should be at the very core of the company, and a part of the culture.

#SGBS21 Access to Finance Forum

South Gloucestershire business is looking at recovery from the most difficult year any of us can remember.

The UK Government has put an unprecedented amount of business support into the economy in the last year, as we think about the future and society unlocking, business now starts looking at counting the cost, managing the damage and thinking about the future.

The access to Finance panel will look at these and other issues that are pressing for the Business community as we start to move forward.

Richard Holling, Dales Business 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.


#SGBS21 Business Groups Forum

As local businesses start to recover, we are keen to ensure that the South Gloucestershire businesses have access to the support needed to enable them to rebuild, develop and grow.

The South Gloucestershire Business Support Service is a WECA initiative delivered in Partnership with South Gloucestershire Council, aimed at supporting businesses across the region. This free service is provided by Cool Ventures.

Facilitated by Manor Singh, Senior Economic Development Officer, South Gloucestershire Council and Sue Marchant, MD, Cool Ventures, local business service providers are invited to join us to learn more about the free support offered, discuss the challenges businesses are experiencing and explore how we can collaborate to enable our business community to recover quickly.

Manor Singh, South Gloucestershire Council

Manor Singh is the Senior Economic Development Officer at South Gloucestershire Council, overseeing business support within the county.  He has worked on business support for Coastal Communities, Enterprise West of England and the Advanced Engineering and Digital Innovation Business Acceleration Hub.

Sue Marchant, Cool Ventures

Sue Marchant has a passion for helping small businesses to start and grow Sue launched Cool Ventures 10 years ago and since her team have supported 1000’s of small businesses across the West of England. They currently deliver the South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset Business Support Services.


Business and the Natural World Together

Bringing Business and the Natural World Together

We depend on the natural environment for the resources and services which underpin business and every aspect of our lives.

Yet nature is in crisis, so for business to prosper we need to act now to bring business and the natural world together to protect and restore nature.

The economics of protecting and restoring biodiversity is loud and clear but where can business make the greatest gains for nature? From procurement, supply chains, to reducing pollution and making space for nature, what information and tools do businesses need and what can we learn from each other?

Join us to hear from businesses who have started on this journey and discuss the steps businesses can take to reduce our nature footprint to benefit both business and nature.

Ian Barrett, Chief Executive, Avon Wildlife Trust

Ian is Chief Executive of Avon Wildlife Trust and Chairs the West of England Nature Partnership and the Bristol One City Ecological Emergency Programme Board. Avon Wildlife Trust is the region’s biggest dedicated nature conservation charity with over 17,000 members, 800 volunteers and 35 staff working to bring wildlife back and inspire people to take action for nature.

Ian’s background includes twelve years working for Defra on a range of environmental policy areas.

Employment & Skills Forum

Our employment and skills forum brings together professional trainers and education providers, employers and recruitment professionals in a boardroom table style discussion.

Gamu Matarira will chair the forum and Jane Vivian from the West of England Combined Authority will bring a presentation around Green Skills as we look to the future.

We’ll be looking at the key issues facing South Gloucestershire’s employment needs, skills gaps,1 opportunities, apprenticeships, inclusion, and employer’s needs following a very difficult year

It will provide an opportunity to benchmark a discussion and focus on the areas that need attention moving forward

A Forum Discussion around a boardroom table, we have capacity for a number of observer seats

Gamu Matarira, founder and CEO, GEN-A Consultancy

Born in Edinburgh, Gamu grew up between the UK and Zimbabwe with shorter stints in Europe and the US – an experience which broadened her horizons and unearthed a desire to understand and appreciate a variety of cultures.

With over 2 decade’s experience in international business environments, Gamu is now focusing her time helping SMEs gain clarity and growth while making an impact in Africa, through coaching, training and consultancy