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'We can be a world-leading community': Norfolk Day business summit discusses how to promote 'new Norfolk'

PUBLISHED: 19:14 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:14 27 July 2018

The EDP Norfolk Day business summit at the International Aviation Academy Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

The EDP Norfolk Day business summit at the International Aviation Academy Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

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Norfolk is a county full of opportunity, innovation and dynamism - but it can and should do more to promote itself on bigger stages.

The EDP Norfolk Day business summit at the International Aviation Academy Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.The EDP Norfolk Day business summit at the International Aviation Academy Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

This was the message pushed by business leaders during a debate on the inaugural Norfolk Day.

Panellists and a small audience gathered at the International Aviation Academy Norwich for the Norfolk Day business summit, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, which discussed how to develop and promote the “new Norfolk”.

The message was clear: Norfolk is an exceptional county which deserves to shout louder about its achievements – for the benefit of its young people, those already in business and those looking to invest here.

Marcus Hemsley, co-director of Fountain Partnership in Norwich, said a change to the narrative was needed. “We do incredible things but do not create enough content to put it out there in front of the wider world,” he said.

The EDP Norfolk Day business summit at the International Aviation Academy Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.The EDP Norfolk Day business summit at the International Aviation Academy Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Nova Fairbank, public affairs manager at Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have a ‘wow’ factor here in Norfolk. We are very good at hiding our light but we need to be more positive about it, we need to show people what we are doing.”

But she said Norfolk needed to be “innovative” in the way it communicates. “The people we are trying to attract into the county are looking at new media channels. We need to take advantage of those kinds of avenues.”

Jeanette Wheeler, partner at Birketts and New Anglia LEP board member, drew attention to the county’s assets – for example Norwich Research Park, a combination of a university, hospital and research institutes, something which she said organisations “all over the world” are trying to achieve.

“We are a jewel that is not spoken about half as much as it should be,” she said.

The EDP Norfolk Day business summit at the International Aviation Academy Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.The EDP Norfolk Day business summit at the International Aviation Academy Norwich. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography.

Sir Chris Harper, Aviation Skills Partnership eastern regional advisory board chairman, agreed that communication was a key issue.

“We do not powerfully press the Norfolk message and yet we can be a world-leading, world-beating community,” he said.

Gareth Oakley, Lloyds Banking Group’s managing director of business banking, said the “image problem” in Norfolk was not county-wide. “I do not think businesses in Norwich are worried about an image problem but for the local economy more broadly this is something we need to address.”

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