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British Chambers of Commerce Annual Global Conference: Key Takeaways

05 July 2024

Conference report from CEO, Rebecca George 

I recently had the pleasure of attending the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Global Conference. I wanted to share my reflections and the valuable insights I gained, which I believe can greatly benefit our Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce community.

The conference offered a wealth of knowledge and actionable insights that we can apply to our own initiatives within the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce. The emphasis on  sustainable growth, Skills, the strategic implementation of AI, and the need for strong partnerships between business and government were particularly resonant.


Keynote Speakers

Shevaun Haviland, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

  • The BCC's "Future of the Economy" manifesto outlines five key priorities: Green Innovation, People & Work, Local Economy for the Future, Global Britain, and Digital Revolution.
  • Businesses desire an environment where they can grow and thrive, without relying on handouts.
  • Emphasised the need for a long-term sustainable economic growth plan spanning the next 10, 15, and 20 years.
  • Highlighted the importance of the government working in partnership with businesses to harness economic growth.
  • Skills are a top concern; there is a need for better planning in this area.

Jonathan Reynolds, Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Trade

  • Business investment and growth have significantly declined over the past 14 years.
  • Stressed the necessity of having the right workforce to drive business growth.

Lady Nicola Mendelsohn CBE, Head of Global Business Group at Meta

  • Discussed the importance of AI beyond performance and targeting, highlighting its role in productivity and innovation.
  • Mentioned that 78% of businesses implementing AI have created new jobs.
  • Urged support for SMEs in embracing AI.

Panel Session: The Future of Work: AI, Digital Change, and Employee Wellbeing

  • Addressed the initial challenges businesses face when starting with AI, including fear of required skills and barriers such as the quality of information.
  • Highlighted the potential economic impact of AI, with projections suggesting an increase in GDP by £550bn by 2025.
  • Emphasised the importance of embedding Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs).
  • Dame Amanda Blanc, Group CEO of Aviva - Argued that relying solely on the government to solve problems is ineffective; businesses have a crucial role to play.
  • Asserted that growth is the key driver for long-term prosperity.

Breakout Sessions

Local Economy of the Future

  • Discussed what is needed to ensure thriving local economies, identifying key areas such as talent and skills, infrastructure, government support, and connectivity.

Digital Revolution

  • Highlighted the lack of strategy as a key delay in deploying AI across businesses.
  • Noted that while AI technology is more accessible, businesses are rushing implementation without strategic planning.
  • Stressed the importance of defining the objectives of AI adoption and avoiding overregulation.
  • Emphasised collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for Business and Trade

  • Highlighted that economic growth and rising living standards come from flourishing businesses and dynamic entrepreneurs.
  • Emphasised that while the government can facilitate growth, it is ultimately driven by businesses.