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Small Business Minister Margot James to speak at LEP conference
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Small Business Minister Margot James to speak at LEP conference

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is delighted to announce that Small Business Minister Margot James MP will be the keynote speaker at our Annual Conference on Friday October 21.

The event, at Yarnfield Park Conference Centre, near Stone, ST15 0NL, will be an opportunity for local businesses to hear first-hand from the Minister responsible for policy areas including small business, consumers and corporate responsibility.

Margot James, an LSE graduate and former businesswoman who has been MP for Stourbridge since 2010, was appointed to her current role in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in July, and has since also been appointed as the ministerial local growth champion for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

This will be the Minister’s second visit to our LEP area – she held a round-table with local businesses at the Emma Bridgewater Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent, in September – but it will be her first speaking engagement.

LEP chairman David Frost CBE said: “We are delighted that Margot James, our new ministerial champion, is taking such a keen interest in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and is finding the time in her very busy schedule to speak at our conference.

“This is a great opportunity to hear the latest thinking from government on business issues, and to showcase the work of the businesses and organisations driving innovation, skills and economic growth across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”

The conference, which is free to attend, runs from 9.15am to 12.30pm, followed by lunch and networking, and is open to representatives from all businesses throughout Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, and to organisations working with the business community.

Other speakers at the event include well-known Staffordshire business leader Steve Burgin, vice president Europe of GE Power and Dave Atkinson, UK head of manufacturing, Lloyds Banking Group.

The conference will be introduced by LEP chairman David Frost who will also conclude the morning with a round-up of the LEP’s achievements to date in boosting growth, creating jobs and raising skills levels in the local economy, and its ambitions for the future. There will also be presentations from Cllr Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council and Cllr Abi Brown, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

“The Enterprise Partnership is now in an exciting period where we are seeing substantial projects taking shape and being successfully completed, which is very good news for jobs and growth,” David Frost said.

“The launch of our Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone in Stoke-on-Trent and north Staffordshire this year is creating international interest, we have a range of other major employment sites ready for businesses at locations including Liberty Park, Lichfield, Meaford, near Stone, and Four Ashes, south Staffordshire, and we have new skills hubs now operational across our area which are starting to make a real impact on raising skills levels in crucial science and technology subjects.”

Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader Abi Brown commented: “It is fantastic that Margot James is coming to our conference, especially after her very successful and well-received visit to Stoke-on-Trent last month.

“It is great to see such a proactive champion of our LEP who is so keen to engage with local businesses.”

Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “We have built a strong economy in Staffordshire by working with our partners to create the right conditions for business to invest, thrive and grow. This is recognised as a leading LEP area by the Government and I am very much looking forward to showcasing our achievements to Margot James, the business minister, at next week’s conference. In addition, we will be demonstrating we are taking a proactive approach with leaders from all sectors in the county in meeting the challenges we all face and making the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.”

To book a place at the conference contact LEP office manager Julie Frost with your business details at or 01785 719002, or communications manager Alison Thomas at or 01785 719003.