Global Annual Conference

Global Annual Conference 2021

16 and 17 June 2021

The British Chambers of Commerce flagship Annual Conference is one of the main events in the business calendar, with the 2021 Conference taking place on 16 and 17 June.

This year the Global Annual Conference will be held virtually over two days and is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the business calendar.

Both days will feature an impressive roster of senior political figures, Leader to Leader ‘In Conversation’ sessions, panels, interactive workshops and essential keynotes, exploring how we can restore confidence and build a more resilient sustainable future that supports businesses to recover, grow, invest and thrive.

The sessions will include:

  • senior political leaders;
  • thought-provoking debates on panels between business leaders from large and small companies;
  • inspiring interviews with some of our incredible young entrepreneurs that are putting innovation and sustainability at the heart of their business models, and expanding their global footprint with exciting, new products and services.

In the days leading up to it, and during the event, there will also be the opportunity to network with other delegates through our new virtual platform, allowing you to browse the delegate list, form connections, start conversations and make contacts.

See further information including speakers and sponsors below.


Wednesday 16th June, 2021 at 8:00am - Thursday 17th June, 2021 at 5:30pm

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Day 1 - A Year of Challenge and Reflection

16 June 2021
08:00 to 14:00

On Day 1 we consider trade, tech and innovation; the drivers to a bold new post-pandemic world. The speed of innovation and change is speeding up, so how can we transform, restructure and innovate to stay agile in response to global demand?

Our first day of our Global Annual Conference will open with Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, the President of the BCC, and will be followed by a senior government speaker.

Other highlights include an In Conversation with Miriam Gonzalez Durantez to discuss how trade is a driver for economic recovery. On a similar note, our second Leader to Leader In Conversation features two high-profile leaders discussing how access to finance is a crucial driver for global economic recovery.

We have an expert panel discussion around our increasing reliance on tech and innovation, and how they are drivers for economic recovery; delving deeper into sectors which are disrupting traditional industries, such as fintech and tradetech.

Our Day 1 Keynote will consider measures which business communities, academia and government need to take to maintain the UK and London’s global reputation as a financial and professional services powerhouse in an ever-evolving world.

And finally, our Big Interview is with Ben Francis, the inspirational Founder of Gymshark, which has gone from being an entrepreneurial start up to a global brand in 170 countries. How did Gymshark become the first DTC brand in the UK to achieve Unicorn status with no external funding, whilst helping to reshape the world into a more sustainable environment?

Plus delegates are warmly invited to participate in Day 1 workshops including:

  • The key pillars and guiding principles of any FTA and what that means for global trade
  • As 2021 heralds Coventry as the City of Culture, we will see how the pandemic has impacted the world of culture whilst exploring the opportunities that City of Culture celebrations bring

Day 2 – The Road to Viable Renewed Growth

17 June 2021
12:00 to 17:30

Day 2 will be hosting a series of business leaders and experts addressing the big topics such as net zero, the levelling-up agenda and how we need to update our skills base to adapt to the future of work. We’ll also be considering how Gen Z and millennials are driving change - and how business leaders pursue a more fulfilled and balanced life in the face of information overload.

The day will be introduced by our incoming Director General, Shevaun Haviland, and Rt Hon Edward Miliband MP will join us for the political Keynote.

Other highlights include a hugely relevant discussion around how we can redefine and balance the new demands on the way we live and work. How has the pandemic affected our caring responsibilities, the new urban-rural divide and the enormous impact on our cities and town centres?

Our Day 2 Keynote explores how young people are a force for change, with Lewis Iwu, CEO of Purpose Union, who seeks to consider how millennial and Gen Z consumers, employees and activists are driving change from the bottom up.

How is the government’s levelling-up initiative going? We discuss how it should be addressing inequality in underperforming and left-behind parts of the UK through a programme of infrastructure development, investing in education, skills and scientific R&D.

A Leader to Leader session around innovation and new skills sets out to identify and address the weaknesses in our skills base to prepare for new ways of working, and there will be a session on diversity in leadership representation.

In the year that Glasgow hosts COP26, our Leader to Leader In Conversation examines how businesses of all sizes can take steps towards meeting their net zero targets.

And how can business leaders can build resilience and the pursuit of a more fulfilled, balanced and self-improved life in today’s hectic world? Our expert panel will guide us on the path to a healthier work-life balance.

Today’s Big Interviews are with an inspirational corporate entrepreneur and a household name social campaigner.

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08:00 - 13:30
Opening Video and Keynote
Resilience and support at the heart of the BCC Chamber Network
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Global Insights Leader
Recapitalisation and access to finance for businesses as drivers for global economic recovery.
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Business resilience at the heart of recovery
Panel discussion
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Technology & Innovation as drivers for economic recovery and growth, and our increasing dependence on them.
Panel discussion
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International trade as a driver for economic recovery and growth
Keynote Discussion - The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman William Russell
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Global Insights Leader
Claire Walker in conversation with Miriam Gonzalez Durantez
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The future of UK-global Trade & Investment
Keynote discussion
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Global Insights Leader
Levelling the playing field, making trade work for all
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Inspiring BlueSky sessions
The big interview with Ben Francis
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Special closing video
Israel’s transformative vaccine roll out
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12:00 – 17:30
Opening Keynote
Shevaun Haviland, BCC incoming Director General
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Political Keynote
Shevaun Haviland in conversation with Ed Miliband MP
Leader to Leader in conversation Innovation & new skills
Hannah Essex in conversation with Katherine Bennett
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​BlueSky conversation
Young people as a force for change
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BlueSky Session
HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO, Chair of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
​Panel Discussion
The infinite potential of young people across the world and the power of a diverse global force for change.
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Video – Life & Legacy
Celebrating the life and legacy of Prince Philip
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​Leader to Leader in conversation
Diversity in leadership representation across all sectors of the economy
Panel Discussion
​Building Resilience for Business Leaders
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​Leader to Leader in conversation
Meeting our net zero targets
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Inspiring BlueSky sessions
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Closing video keynote
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Andrew Mitchell CMG
Director General Exports and UK Trade, Department for International Trade (DIT)
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Anne-Marie Martin
Director Global Business Network, British Chambers of Commerce
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Ben Francis
Founder & Chief Product Officer, Gymshark
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Claire Walker
Co-Executive Director, British Chambers of Commerce
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Ed Miliband
Shadow Business and Energy Secretary, Labour MP for Doncaster North
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Faye Busby
Director of Business Development, British Chambers of Commerce
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Graham Stuart
Minister for Exports at the Department for International Trade and Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness
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Hamad Buamim
President and CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Chairman of the World Chambers Federation (WCF)
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Hannah Essex
Co-Executive Director, British Chambers of Commerce
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Helen Mitchell
Innovation Strategy and Corporate Transformation Specialist
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Henrietta Brealey
CEO, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
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Jonathan Guthrie
Associate Editor and the Head of LEX, Financial Times
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Katherine Bennett
Senior Vice President of Airbus UK and CEO Designate of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult
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Karen Beardsley
Managing Director of Rail Operations, Unipart Rail
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Karima-Catherine Goundiam (KC)
Founder and CEO of
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Lewis Iwu
​CEO and Founding Partner, Purpose Union
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Liz Willingham, Non-executive Director
Chart.PR, Managing Director, Liz Lean PR and Past President & NED Dorset Chamber
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Lord Mark Price
Founder of WorkL for Business
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Miriam González Durántez
Trade practice lead, Cohen & Gresser
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Paul Thwaite
CEO Commercial Banking NatWest Group
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Paul Farmer
Chief Executive, Mind
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Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE 
President, British Chambers of Commerce
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Sarah Howard MBE
Chair of the British Chambers of Commerce and Director, Sarand Business Software
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Shevaun Haviland
Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
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Alderman William Russell
Lord Mayor of the City of London 2019-2020
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