The Annual Business Forum for the Gatwick Diamond – 2018 event will take place this autumn. Register your interest now!

IMG_6705Nearly 200 leaders from the public and private sector come together for the annual Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum to identify and discuss opportunities, debate threats and celebrate success in the £22.3 billion Gatwick Diamond economy.

The Gatwick Diamond is one of the key regional economies in the UK. It is growing, and IMG_6771thriving, but we need to keep it that way. Other parts of the UK, and Europe, are always looking to challenge, and with economic threats such as Brexit around, we need to make sure we are pushing for growth as hard as we can.

IMG_6822Last year, we looked at some Centre for Cities research that revealed our performance in the knowledge economoy was lipping behind others. From a position of some strength in the 1990s, we are now growing slower in Knowledge Based business services than the Thames Valley – and indeed than the UK average.

The Gatwick Diamond sees considerable potential in digital technology, professional and business services, and medical technology for growth, which could reverse that unwanted statistic. How can we make sure we will harness the potential, and realise the growth? How can we hold on to our talented young people? What role will automation play and how can we benefit?

As well as hearing from Gatwick Airport, our key economic driver, we will also learn from our key growth sectors. We will hear from the the education sector about whaIMG_6813t skills are needed, and how we can deliver them.

In a time of talent shortages, productivity will be key to regional success. How can we make ours better than the rest?

2017 event

In 2017, as we passed the 15th anniversary of the coining of the name “Gatwick Diamond”, and with the Government considering a new place based, and locally led, industrial strategy, it was time for a serious review.

We used the opportunity to look forward at how our economy might develop in the the IMG_6753next fifteen years, with the benefit of an immense amount of information delivered by two reports which benchmark our performance against the rest of the UK.

Centre for Cities provided a snapshot of our regional economy compared to a basket of others around the UK, showing how we fare for innovation, skills, economic value added, and more.

Grant Thornton’s contribution took into account a wider set of characteristics. They showed how their Vibrant Economy Index measures the current position of our eight local authority areas across six baskets of socio-economic indicators, to provide an indication of the vibrancy of the area.

Together, these reports provided deep understanding about the past, present and future of the Gatwick Diamond economy, and how we IMG_6743might influence that future for the better.

These inputs sparked much debate about how we can move forward, together, fuelled further by contributions from senior business figures, and local and national government.

IMG_6737Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport and Daryl Gayler, Managing Director, RBS at the 2016 GDEGF – Photographs courtesy of Stephen Johnson Photography

What the delegates say

Delegates enjoyed the Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum’s blend of speakers, panels and networking. Here is a selection of comments from our post-event delegate survey:

“A really brilliant forum; quality of the speakers was very high with empirical evidence and pragmatic examples of economic growth inspiring information.”

“Excellent networking and chairing of the forum and linking key issues.”

“I was inspired, impressed and learnt so much from the day.”

“The forum could have been longer to have more discussion in break out groups about actions for business.”

“Really informative and interesting”

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