Doncaster Business Awards 2017 speech

Doncaster Chamber CEO Dan Fell's welcome speech, Doncaster Business Awards 2017:

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman, thank you for joining us at the Doncaster Business Awards.  Thank you to our headline sponsors, Origin Broadband, and to all of category sponsors, judges and suppliers, without whom this event would not be possible.

This year we received a large number of compelling awards entries from businesses of all sizes and sectors.  All of our judges fed back that they were blown away by the calibre of the entries but also by entrants’ clear commitment to place and communities.

On page 4 of your programme you will find details of the rigorous judging process that all entrants go through prior to this evening.  I am confident that this is the fairest and most robust judging process of any Chamber awards in the UK.  Indeed, by the time a winner is announced tonight, that company will have been scrutinised by seven different people, including: sponsors, peers from the business community, and a range of the Chamber’s strategic partners.  Our winners will certainly have earned their prizes tonight.  

Whilst this event is predominantly about celebrating individual businesses, the occasion also acts as a great opportunity to celebrate the success of Doncaster and its economy.  Over recent years we have seen the gestation of many key projects, including: Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the Great Yorkshire Way, the iPort, CAST, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, the National College for High Speed Rail, and many more besides.  These schemes are giving our place a real sense of positivity and momentum.

However, it is not just about new buildings and infrastructure – as important as these things are.  These transformational projects are often underpinned by other programmes that might not generate the same headlines, but that are critically important to creating inclusive economic growth.

These initiatives and activities include:

Securing Sport England funding to tackle health inequalities

The Partners in Learning Teaching Schools Alliance

Creating the Doncaster Ambassador programme

Tackling issues around anti-social behaviour

Increasing the amount of business done locally by Doncaster Council

The reinvigoration of Doncaster College

Attracting Opportunity Area funding to the area

Securing Teaching Hospital status

Bringing the Tour de Yorkshire back to Doncaster in 2018

The great work being done by Club Doncaster Sports College

I could go on and on, as there is genuinely so much exciting stuff currently happening in Doncaster.  However, I’ll stop there, because there is an important point to make.  None of this happens by accident and none of it happens without the hard work of a lot of people who are truly dedicated to serving Doncaster’s economy and communities.

The prizes up for grabs tonight are for our local business heroes; however, Doncaster would not be enjoying an unprecedented level of growth without the leadership and commitment of the extended Team Doncaster family.  As such, on behalf of the Doncaster’s business community, I would like to say a sincere thank you to all our public sector partners and friends – many of whom are with us tonight – who are doing so much to make Doncaster a great place to live, work, play, learn and invest.

However, whilst much great work is being done to transform Doncaster we are, of course, far from complacent.  That is why your Chamber is heading into 2018 fired up and ready to continue campaigning on the issues that matter most to Chamber members.

This will include:

Making the case for a new railway station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Holding our partners’ feet to the fire when it comes to delivering the exciting masterplan for Doncaster’s town centre.

Putting pressure on Government to finally approve Doncaster’s University Technical College application.

Championing the arts and cultural sector so that Doncaster can increasingly be seen as an attractive destination for skilled workers.

Promoting, as an end goal, a Yorkshire wide version of devolution that has the scale and brand that the majority of Doncaster firms feel is appropriate in a post-Brexit world.

Working, via the Doncaster Skills Academy, to ensure that our young people are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in the world of work.

This means that we’re going to be busy.  Therefore, before I finish, I need to pay tribute to the brilliant people that work with me at the Chamber.  On page 14 of your programme you will find an infographic providing just a snapshot of what colleagues have delivered in the last twelve months; a truly remarkable achievement for a workforce of less than twenty.  I am humbled to lead this extraordinary team and proud to count them as my colleagues and friends.  Please join me in thanking them for delivering another fantastic Business Awards but, even more importantly, for the brilliant work they do all year round to help make the borough a great place to do business.

Good luck to all of our finalists and have a fantastic evening.

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