Declan’s Blog: BCC to the future

Photo of Declan Riddell

Last week I joined my fellow Chamber colleagues from across the global network, for the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Global Annual Conference (GAC).

Hosted at the QEII Centre in Westminster, the GAC, brings business leaders from across the UK, and the globe, to come together and discuss the key challenges to build a better future for business, the economy, and people in our local communities. 

The BCC sits at the very centre of a unique network of businesses of all sizes and from across all sectors, within the UK and the rest of the world.  This is why the BCC is the only organisation that helps British businesses to build relationships on every level. 

Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce is proud to be a member of the BCC family, which is greatly respected as the voice of business.

The theme of this year’s GAC was ‘Future of the Economy’, with a Manifesto of the same name being launched and covering five key Challenges:

– People and Work – A skilled workforce meeting business needs
– Green Innovation – A green, innovative and growing economy
– Global Britain – World-leading in trade and inward investment
– Digital Revolution – Connected, secure and dynamic
– Local Economy of the future – Thriving local economies

During the course of the day, we heard from notable business and public figures, who engaged in thought-provoking discussion with colleagues from across the Chamber Network.  Nicola Mendelsohn (Head of Global Business Group, Meta), shared her thoughts on the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  She spoke of her excitement by the opportunity of UK businesses using AI, to gain a competitive advantage over their overseas competitors. 

Richard Gwilliam of Drax Group lent his support for UK businesses to embrace the use of AI and suggested that successful adoption could be worth hundreds of billions of pounds to UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  He added that AI adoption should be done at a pace that is “respectful and sympathetic” to the needs of a business.

A Networking Zone gave delegates the chance to meet existing and new contacts, showcasing the very best of British business, and the Chamber Network, from across the UK and around the world.

The GAC had been booked as long ago as last year and with a General Election having been announced, it was good to hear from two well-known politicians who will be fighting for our votes on Thursday.  During the morning, we heard from Shadow Business & Trade Minister (Jonathan Reynolds, MP), just three months after he met with our members in Stoke-on-Trent.  During the afternoon, we heard from Kemi Badenoch, MP (Minister for Women & Equalities).

During the afternoon sessions, we joined further updates on skills and the digital revolution.   It was good to see how these discussions and the BCC Manifesto, link closely to our Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Manifesto, which is underpinned by the five themes of :

Connected Staffordshire
Digital Staffordshire
Global Staffordshire
Green Staffordshire
Skilled Staffordshire

You can view our Manifesto here:

Under each of the five themes, we have committed to a number of pledges to address key business issues and drive economic growth in our region.  We will also be asking partners and stakeholders to lend their commitment in playing a part to drive this growth.

If you have any feedback about our Manifesto or our role within the wider British Chambers’ of Commerce (BCC) network, feel free to get in touch: