By working together Somerset businesses can achieve at world level. That was the clear message to emerge from the Sedgemoor Business Conference at the McMillan Theatre, Bridgwater attended by more than 100 delegates from small and large businesses.
Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, MD of Nuclear Development at EDF Energy, set the tone when he said the company was determined to work with others to leave a legacy from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) project in the form of education, skills, supply chain and community investment. He paid tribute to home-grown engineers who were the best in the world at nuclear commissioning and decommissioning and said the south west had the potential to rival the Northern Powerhouse. Jamie Driver reminded businesses that it was not too late to sign up for opportunities on the HPC supply chain.
MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, Ian Liddell-Grainger told the audience that team-work between the local authorities, businesses and the community was behind the positive growth and development in the District, particularly through the HPC project.
Reflecting on a year of achievements and future plans, Sedgemoor's Group manager for Strategy and Development, Claire Pearce, predicted that 2018 would be the District's most exciting year yet.
A match made in heaven is how Wyke Farms' Cheese and Thatchers Cider was described and Richard Clothier, MD of Wyke Farms, the UK's largest independent milk processor said both companies were partners of 'Passion for Somerset', a group with a love for the County and its businesses which is behind the annual Somerset Day celebrations.
Another company proud of its Somerset roots and now the UK's no.1 organic dairy brand is Yeo Valley whose MD Karl Tucker stressed that it was important to do more to keep young talented people in the area.
Leadership and having a clear sense of where the business was going lay behind the growth in the last three years of Longleat Enterprises which own Cheddar Gorge and Caves, according to CEO Bob Montgomery. He said a fresh look at the organisation's culture and brand had led to it having international appeal as well as a 40% growth in attendance.
Buying and selling on line is an area where the UK leads the world and there were plenty of tips on how to do it - including using video - from Kate Doodson, joint CEO of Cosmic, a social enterprise helping businesses benefit from digital technology.
People are what make a business, said final speaker, Helen Lacey, MD of Red Berry Recruitment who advised her audience of the need to create the right culture in which their people could thrive.