The annual Choose Chorley Business Networking event was held on Thursday 11th July, at the new £8.5m Strawberry Fields Digital Hub in Euxton Lane, Chorley. The event, entitled ‘2019: THE YEAR OF DIGITAL’, was the first public event in the new state-of-the-art, hi-tech business centre for digital and creative businesses, with over 180 people from the region in attendance.
Two of Digital Lancashire’s board of directors, Liz Hardwick, Co-Founder, DigiEnable and Jeremy Coates, CEO, Magma Digital were involved in the evening, contributing to the ‘Question Time’ style panel facilitated by BBC North West News’ Chief Reporter, Dave Guest. The panel also constituted Paul Croft, Director, Ultimaker GB and Martin Rothwell, Senior Lecturer in Digital and Technology Solutions at UCLan. The discussion was lively and informative, with several key questions from audience members.
After the panel, the keynote speaker was Maggie Philbin, OBE, which many people may know through her radio and television work over the last 30 years and in particular from the early pioneering tech-show Tomorrow’s World. Maggie captivated the audience attention with her enthusiasm and great stories from one of her roles, as the CEO for the multi-award winning TeenTech CIC where she supports schools and colleges to develop practical approaches to working with young people.
Reflecting on the evening, Jeremy said: “It was great to see so many people for the first event at Strawberry Fields, throughout the evening, both the networking beforehand and the panel followed by Maggie Philbin as keynote speaker, it showed what vibrancy and passion there is in Lancashire for Digital and that this stunning new venue has great potential for the Digital Community.
Liz added: “I was born in Chorley, I grew up in Chorley and I now run my business from Chorley, and it’s great to see our local Council taking digital skills, jobs, and businesses seriously. It’s great to hear businesses of all kinds talking about AI, Machine Learning, Robotics and 3D printing alongside the ever-important digital skills for business. Moreover, how improved digital skills can support local businesses in the area to thrive. Chorley has a vibrant business community which we need to support and promote because it is an awesome place to live and do business! When the panel were asked for final thoughts to sum up the panel discussion, I shared my drive and passion to reduce the number of currently digitally excluded people in the UK – It’s great that we are talking about big-scale digital concepts, but equally we also need to make sure we don’t leave others behind as we progress.”
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