It was a pleasure for Highland Fayre to be part of the first ever Business Insider and Ledingham Chalmers Made in Aberdeen Breakfast last Thursday. The event that was held at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa saw a collection of business sectors coming together to debate about innovation in Aberdeen. As this was my first ever networking event my snooze button was shown a little more compassion than it usually would at 5.25am in the morning. And to make things even better Aberdeen was experiencing one of the seven days of summer Scotland ever sees in a year.
(From Left to Right: The panel - Alfie Cheyne, Stuart Mitchell, Peter Ferry & Vivien Mckee. Guest Speaker - Prof. James Woudhuysen, Host - Nadine Dereza, Editor Scottish Business Insider - Alasdair Northrop)
On entering the conference hall an immediate buzz was felt as individuals networked with fellow attendees (however at 7.15am this buzz could be argued to be from the litres of coffee consumed to get rid of that early morning haze). By 7.45am the stage was set, and while attendees digested their breakfast, host and regimental timekeeper for the morning Nadine Dereza got things underway.
After introductory comments from the event’s organisers it was time to welcome Professor James Woudhuysen, a specialist in forecasting and innovation, to the stage. While sitting listening to James future predictions for the IT and Energy sectors and later hearing from the panel of industry experts, I was immediately filled with enthusiasm to go out and start pursuing innovation within my own business sector. It was also encouraging to hear company Directors Vivien Mckee (IA Cubed) and Alfie Cheyne (ACE Winches) fighting the corner for “Generation Y” and encouraging other business owners to fully utilize the skills of recent graduates. As a graduate myself I could immediately relate to this part of the discussion having been through my own struggles to get that opportunity to start my career.
(Highland Fayre"goody" bags for the lucky delegates of the Made In Aberdeen Breakfast.)
I think I’m safe in saying that the award for most inspirational speaker of the morning went to Alfie. The Aberdeen born and bred CEO inspired guests to get out of their beds an hour earlier if they wanted to compete against countries like China on innovation. It was also interesting to see the panel tackle some challenging questions from the audience and even more entertaining seeing James play devil’s advocate trying to provoke debate. Despite being renowned for his ability to predict future trends, James certainly showed real promise as a campaign manager for Alfie’s political career (if Alfie was to ever move into politics that is).
As the event started winding down and Andrew Docherty of Marks & Clerk provided the closing remarks, guests had the opportunity to stick around for the Microsoft workshop run by Microsoft’s future talent James Shield. With time for some last minute networking it was great to speak with some interesting business men and woman, not to mention the amount of positive feedback about our Highland Fayre gift bags.
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