BGF rolled out the red carpet at the ODEON Luxe, Leicester Square on Thursday for its annual Portfolio Day. The event brought together CEOs from BGF’s portfolio companies alongside an array of business leaders to speak on the future of British business and enterprise.
The theme of Portfolio Day 2019 was Ready for Business and in opening the event, BGF CEO Stephen Welton shared the success of the campaign in helping companies get ready for business in spite of political and economic uncertainty.
Over the course of the afternoon, we looked at the now, near and next for British Business.
Looking at the trends shaping the now was Chair of Chatham House Lord O’Neill, who joined the afternoon’s moderator – ITV News presenter Mary Nightingale – to discuss productivity, the evolution of capitalism and the future of the economy in the day’s first panel, which was followed by members of BGF’s Talent Network, Adam Hale, Andy Nash, Fiona Lowry and Sharon Baylay.
Former Foreign Secretary, The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt also shared his view of the current business landscape in a keynote speech, adding a political slant to the economic insights given by Lord O’Neill and the Talent Network.
Following this, the focus turned to the trends shaping the ‘near’, with a focus on inclusion, sustainability and going global. Caroline Casey gave a spotlight session on The Valuable 500 campaign, which aims to bring disability inclusion into the mainstream business conversation.
Environmental entrepreneur and author Ed Gillespie spoke on the underestimated impact of climate change on business, saying: “It is now not just an environmental issue. It is a massive financial risk”.
Stephen Welton, Cobra Beer founder and CBI vice-president Lord Bilimoria, London & Partners managing director Jules Chappell and Arnold Leung, founder of digital consultancy firm Appnovation, looked at how brands can grow internationally, before a final panel of BGF portfolio companies were spotlighted.
There was also a look at the trends shaping the ‘next’ and a look to the future, with a keynote speech from Professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London, Tali Sharot, who spoke about ‘the optimism bias’ – and the benefits and burdens of the natural human tendency to be optimistic.
The conclusion of the day was a dinner held at Hawksmoor, punctuated with an insightful speech by broadcaster and journalist Andrew Neil, who gave his analysis of current politics and his predictions for the forthcoming election.
Seven Hills was delighted to support BGF, the UK and Ireland’s largest active investor, with Portfolio Day 2019.