“When something’s wrong in my house, we don’t wait for the sirens.”
Spoken poet Hussain Manawer brilliantly opened the Grant Thornton Vibrant Capital Summit on Tuesday morning, setting the mood for a day that saw leaders celebrate what London does well, while debating innovative solutions to the city’s pressing challenges.
“How can we step forward and be part of shaping the world?” asked Grant Thornton CEO Sacha Romanovitch. Guests replied with ideas that ranged from ending the 9 to 5 working day, to creating shared living spaces in the vein of co-working hubs.
Actor and campaigner Michael Sheen followed Sacha, outlining his work with End High Cost Credit Alliance. This aims to prevent vulnerable people from being exploited by high-cost credit lenders, encouraging them to seek out smaller, lower interest loan firms instead.
Michael told attendees that ideas have to come from individuals and organisations within communities, rather than policies dictated from top-down. Collaboration, he says, is the only way to tackle practices that overwhelmingly exploit society’s most vulnerable.
“The Alliance must have a genuine diversity of partners and independent leadership, only then can it have the ability to be clear eyed about what the real world challenges are.”
Broadcaster and anchor Sir Trevor McDonald hosted the summit, recalling how his childhood in Trinidad instilled in him that London was the centre of the world. He described the day as a fantastic way to find out how to ensure London’s global status amidst wider uncertainty.
Across the event’s three breakout sessions – Live, Work and Grow – guests discussed how to tackle challenges around living costs, the ever-changing world of work, and the scale-up challenges that contradict the UK’s recent start-up boom.
Event speakers included WOW Women of the World Festival founder Jude Kelly, co-founder of One Young World, Kate Robertson, CEO of PUBLIC Daniel Korski, and Dame Helena Morrissey, founder of the 30% Club, all providing their expertise within the Live, Work, Grow framework.
Night Czar Amy Lamé closed the event, speaking with Sir Trevor about her role keeping London moving.
“The night-time economy is for those who want to party all night, as well as those who want to sleep all night.
“We ignore the night at our peril,” she said. “Where can our economy possibly grow? It all lies in the night-time.”
The summit formed part of Grant Thornton UK’s Vibrant Capital week.
To learn more about Vibrant Capital, click here.