Your definitive review of the Buckinghamshire Business Festival

Read the round-up, see the pictures, read the glowing testimonials, pick up more useful advice and see what you may have missed out on!

The Buckinghamshire Business Festival was every bit the success that we hoped it would be when it was merely a twinkle in our eye. We are delighted that so many businesses got involved with either hosting or attending an event. In all, there were 27 events at 18 venues across 12 days, with 500 visitors and guests attending overall.

Remind yourself of the Business Festival events schedule here, and read on for some of the highlights of the fortnight, but first, a quick message from our Managing Director Philippa Batting:

“We set out with a vision for the Buckinghamshire Business Festival that would bring together businesses of all sizes and from all sectors for a fortnight of learning, collaborating and networking. After a lot of hard work, we can look back with pride at what was achieved. The Buckinghamshire business community really embraced the concept of the Business Festival and made it the success that it was. I hope everyone took something away from one or more of the events that leaves a lasting impression on their business.”

Buckinghamshire Business Expo

The centrepiece of the Buckinghamshire Business Festival, the Expo attracted 200 visitors on the day to The Gateway in Aylesbury, with 50 exhibitors lined up to showcase their products and services.

As well as this, there was a conference covering digital technology, preparing for Brexit, satellite applications, how technology changes the way we make people decisions, and changing workforces. Download the presentation slides from the conference here >

There were also workshop covering topics like leadership, tax, cyber security, video content and digital marketing.

The day was a great success. See for yourself by viewing:

Elizabeth Adlington of Adlington Young Executive Coaching, who was one of the exhibitors on the day, said: “The Buckinghamshire Business Expo was a first for Buckinghamshire Business First and a first for Adlington Young Executive Coaching! What a good day it turned out to be. Everything was well planned by Buckinghamshire Business First, which filled me with confidence that it would be a day well spent. The Expo kicked off soon after 8am and by 9:30am I was agreeing new business. The venue worked perfectly, and conversation buzzed all day. It felt more like a reunion than an Expo, and definitely worthwhile!”

Cube Video were one of the sponsors of the Expo and created the above video of the day. They were also one of the exhibitors, as Co-founder and CEO, James Hakesley, explains: “The Buckinghamshire Business Expo was a great opportunity for Cube Video. We enjoyed building and strengthening relationships with new people and other businesses that were involved. There was an enthusiastic, buzzing atmosphere at the event and for us, it was very successful as we have had several leads as a result. We are strong advocates of Buckinghamshire and Buckinghamshire Business First, so it was important for us to take part and to be a sponsor of the Expo!”

Buckinghamshire Brexit Summit

If you missed the Brexit Summit, and missed our round-up of the event in the last newsletter, have a read now to ensure you don’t miss out on the helpful advice and resources that were discussed and shared on the day.

Read the Brexit Summit round-up here >

Buckinghamshire Business First has made a point of compiling much of the advice and resources available to businesses in one place, at We recommend you regularly check the page, and explore the links contained within the page regularly too as the specific information within the links may change.

Leading Teams Through Change

Businesses are operating in uncertain times, but in such times it is by working together that we can remain optimistic and plan for growth, not just for survival.

Buckinghamshire Business First collaborated with Thames Valley Police on an event that brought the worlds of business, sport, faith, medicine, and emergency services together to share best practice on leading teams through change. The fantastic speakers were Aly Bowman of Thomas International; Gareth Ainsworth, Manager of Wycombe Wanderers; Angela Spang of JUNE Medical; Shaukat Warraich of Faith Associates; Kevin Brown and Jonathan Chandler of Thames Valley Police; and Dr Sarah Abbas.

See some photos from the event, and read some of the feedback from those in attendance:

  • “Great speakers from very diverse professional backgrounds who gave us a real insight into their own personal experiences of managing change.”
  • “I personally have greater confidence in understanding how change can and does happen. I am also aware now of the value of team members being the vehicle to positive change.”
  • “There was some comfort that there was a degree of commonality across all the speakers that people/your team are your true asset and you need those on board to really get positive change.”

Leaders are often in the privileged position of being able to see the whole picture, being aware of all the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation and the knowledge of what the future may hold. But they need to be patient with their team members and give them time to get to the same place they are. Together, with the right leadership, the whole team can cope with change.

Routes Into Creative Industries

The Buckinghamshire Skills Hub hosted Routes Into Creative Industries at Pinewood Studios. The event was designed to connect businesses with people looking for work opportunities, and on the day 200 visitors meet 20 creative businesses with those very work opportunities.

Margaret Burgin, Head of Careers, Screen Skills, said: “Thank you to the Buckinghamshire Skills Hub for inviting us to Routes Into Creative Industries. We met a number of young people and parents, all together speaking to about 150 people. I met quite a few girls who are interested in visual effects, which is always a good thing.”

Eleanor Brocklehurst, Series Producer, Boundless West/Fremantle, said: “Routes Into Creative Industries created a welcoming space where students could gather information on a range of different avenues into careers in the media. It was certainly well attended and there were animated conversations taking place across the event.”

One young person in attendance said: “The event was brilliant. It was held in a really professional yet informal manner, allowing you to feel like you were with industry experts but able to talk in a more colloquial way. Those with stands promoting their business were very informative and provided information to take away for further reading, as well as verbally supplying the main facts. I went between a few tables and found that the quality of information was good and even if they couldn’t find something on their courses for me, they gave me other ideas and options that I may like - offering their support however possible.”

Jackie Campbell, Skills Development Manager at Buckinghamshire Skills Hub, said: “The digital and creative sector will need 1.2 million new workers by 2022 in order to keep up with its projected growth, and the sector is experiencing challenges in developing the talent pipeline it needs quickly enough. Pinewood Studios opening its doors for Routes Into Creative Industries helped bring 200 people of all ages and abilities and with varying levels of experience together with real opportunities.”

Be Your Own Boss

The Buckinghamshire Business Festival was not just for existing businesses; we also incorporated our Be Your Own Boss service into the schedule.

Be Your Own Boss is a start-up business support service that offers training courses, networking events, free workspaces, discounts on products and services, professional meeting rooms and all manner of advice and resources for people who are setting up a business. During the Festival, the latest group of start-up business owners attended a 2-day course where they learnt all about digital skills, the basics of accountancy, how to produce a business plan, and marketing and sales skills.

The next Be Your Own Boss event is an Enterprise Day on April 26th in High Wycombe that will start people on the path to running a business. These Enterprise Days have proved very successful, with one attendee, Louise Mitchell of Calibre Quality Care, saying:

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for recommending attending the Be Your Own Boss Enterprise Day. I found the course content extremely helpful and I fully intend to put what I have learnt in to practice, starting with my business canvas! Thank you for your support. I now feel confident in moving forward knowing that I have experts in the field to go to when I have a wobble.”

If you know someone who is starting a business, please do let them know about the Be Your Own Boss service. More information is available at, at and on 01494 927130.

Making Tax Digital

Several events during the Festival focused on the important topic of Making Tax Digital, which is the government initiative that will change the way businesses maintain their tax records and the software they use to send tax returns.

Three separate events held by APS Accountancy and MHA MacIntyre Hudson shone a light on the impending changes and highlighted any advantages businesses might find within the new rules.

Read our overview of the changes coming from April 1st 2019 thanks to Making Tax Digital >

Business Leaders’ Dinner

It wouldn’t be a business festival without an appearance from the highly sought-after Business Leaders’ Dinners. The latest event took place at Danesfield House and featured a great speech from Emma Walker, Managing Director of Ashridge Group on ‘Growing Your Workforce’. Emma revealed how Ashridge engage with their team through training sessions, employee forums, ‘thank you’ cards and more, and revealed how the business supports charities through the Ashridge Foundation.

Graham Macey, Director of Form Workplace Solutions, said: “We had a very enjoyable evening at the Business Leaders’ Dinner at Danesfield House. As well as being a great venue with great food, we met some very interesting people to connect with. Thanks to Buckinghamshire Business First for running this event, it was a great way to make new business connections, and as an added bonus we also met some really great local charities too. We look forward to attending more Business Leaders’ Dinners!”

Take a look at the photos from the event here, and keep an eye out for details of our next Business Leaders’ Dinner!

The positive benefits of CSR to your business, High Wycombe, March 12th

Corporate Social Responsibility was the focus of CSRA’s free workshop, as they showed businesses how to develop and communicate their CSR activity and demonstrate responsible and ethical best practice to all audiences.

CSR is something Buckinghamshire Business First is passionate about, and this month we have been awarded CSR Gold Accreditation for our efforts.

RAF Halton House Business Breakfast, Wendover, March 12th

Businesses met with all three services, networking with them and other local businesses and organisations as they learnt about the opportunities for local employers to engage with the Defence sector.

Buckinghamshire’s Armed Forces Day takes place on June 29th 2019. Businesses can sponsor the event and take a stand. Find out more here >

A big ‘thank you’ to everyone!

Finally, we would like to again thank everyone who played a part in the Buckinghamshire Business Festival. If you now have withdrawal symptoms having attended so many great events, check out our main events page online for more ways to learn and network!

Business community ambassadors