Humber Business Week launch focuses on region's future talent

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 6 Jun 2017

A new campaign designed to help companies hang on to local talent took a starring role during the launch of Humber Business Week.

The week-long programme of events kicked off yesterday (Monday, June 5) at The University of Hull's Middleton Hall, where more than 300 delegates gathered for the Bondholders Breakfast.

‚ÄčAnita Pace, pictured left, chairwoman of the Bondholders marketing group, took to the stage to reveal details of the new campaign.

She said: "We know from speaking to our members that recruiting and retaining talent is a problem. We are launching a campaign aimed at 17 to 24-year-olds, to convey the opportunities that exist in this area – not in Leeds or Manchester, but here.

"We have some fantastic real-life examples of what our talent is doing. We should be celebrating that.

"We are therefore asking our Bondholders members to help us shape this campaign, by telling us about your rising stars."

The new campaign embodied the theme of the breakfast event, which focused on young entrepreneurs and the benefits to young people of living and working in the Humber region.

And, to tie in with Hull's City of Culture status, the event was brought to life through the medium of performing arts.

Other speakers included award-winning entrepreneur Zoe Jackson MBE, who at the age of 16 set up her own performing arts business to help fund her own performing arts education while inspiring young people.

Her company, Living the Dream, has since grown to include a school of performing arts, a professional dance company and a charity, with Zoe awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to young entrepreneurs and performing arts.

Zoe, whose work has also been championed by the likes of Sir Richard Branson and actor Alan Rickman, said: "Young people have so much creativity; give them a chance to take a risk, make mistakes and be creative."We recently did a campaign for a breast cancer awareness charity. I asked the group for ideas on what we could do, and one came up with the idea of dressing up as giant boobs.

"It sounded crazy, but we went with it, and had a flash mob of giant boobs dancing in the middle of London during rush hour.

"The campaign went viral, and resulted in thousands of pounds being donated to charity."So I urge you to give young people the chance to shine. If you do the results will be magnificent."

Former Hull west and Hessle MP Alan Johnson also made a surprise appearance on the stage, treading the boards to read a letter to his 16-year-old self.

In it, he urged his younger self to look beyond the then upcoming Beatles album – "the type of music the older generation say nobody will listen to beyond the end of the Sixties" – and pay a bit of attention to politics – "a subject I know you show very little interest in".

He also pointed out that despite refusing to move to Watford as he "deemed it too far north", his younger self may eventually find the family visits to Hull beneficial to his future career.

Other events included the Institute of Directors Lunch with Midge Ure, at the Kcom Stadium.

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