More than 100 business people from across the county attended the annual Oxfordshire Business Leaders Event hosted by the Oxfordshire Economic Partnership and sponsored by Unipart Group
Each year, Oxfordshire Economic Partnership brings together the leading business people from across the county for a formal dinner to recognise the achievements of our partners in creating a stronger economy for Oxfordshire.
Unipart Group, one of Europe’s largest independent logistics and consultancy companies, sponsored the event which was held in the restaurant at the company global headquarters in Oxford.
Guest speaker for the evening was Dr. Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover. Dr. Speth has over 22 years experience in the European auto industry, including senior roles at BMW, the Premier Automotive Group of Ford Ltd and Linde Group. At the dinner, he championed the role of UK manufacturing and stressed the importance of aligning research and development between universities and high value manufacturing companies.
In welcoming guests, OEP Chairman Frank Nigriello said that OEP has a critical place in Oxfordshire in representing the voice of business bringing together organisations like the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Business, Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network and many others.
“In the last two years under David Doughty’s leadership as chief executive, OEP has brought business people together to step in when our local authorities struggled to get things off the ground,” he said.
“The Innovation and Growth Team, for instance, was brought together by OEP as was the county’s Learning and Skills Partnership.
“We supported the city council and helped to set up the Destination Management Organisation to grow tourism in the county
“And in the midst of recession, we organised Job Clubs to help those recently redundant — and worked with local bank directors to get the best advice and help for businesses.
“We brought together mentoring organisations with support from NGAGE and introduced Fredrick’s Fund to help small businesses facing financial difficulty.
“We took the issue of skills head on by working with Oxford University and local businesses to create an Oxfordshire workplace learning model and – working with Oxford Brookes – we ran a massive skills research project that spanned the entire county.
“We’ve also engaged with the health industry in two projects – one locally for the Thames Valley and one as part of a European cluster – looking at health care innovation.
“OEP also ran a series of events including Skillsfest, nearly 20 Horizons and Futures seminars and the Digital Summit in September, at which Ed Vaizey, the minister for communication culture and the creative industries, helped us launch a campaign to get superfast broadband and better mobile telecoms in the county.
“It is a testament to that fact that so many of you are here tonight as either members or friends of OEP; and that you have been joining us for this dinner recognising business leadership in Oxfordshire for many years. “