Back in September, the inaugural South West Digital Awards took place at Plymouth’s School of Creative Arts. Our host and panel moderator for the evening was Marjon’s Dr Emily Beaumont. Emily is an Associate Professor and Director of the Marjon Business School, leading the department with a strong research ethos. Emily is also a Director of Enterprise Educators UK.

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Having chaired the panel discussion with Lindsey Hall (RIO), Roland Gude (Sentinel) and Rich Adams (Plymouth University), Emily highlighted some of the key points from the panel, for us: 

  • The South West is doing some great things but we need to shout about it more.
  • There is support and funding out there for South West based digital businesses, and we need to support each other to access these opportunities.
  • Education plays a big part in making sure we are creating employees who are ‘digital ready’ and capable of working with digital regardless of the context.

With a vested interest in the education of students, when asked about what South West businesses and organisations can do to retain young people in the region, Emily said:

“We need to create an environment that is both attractive and sustainable.  By that I mean innovative education opportunities for them to create/develop their own business whilst in education (we have developed these at Plymouth Marjon University), funding to initiate or accelerate their business, support flexible and innovative ways of working, and make sure we have easy and open networks for collaboration and development.”

Emily was particularly excited to be involved in the awards, having noted the sheer number of digital businesses and projects in one room. However, Emily also wanted to emphasise the importance of avoiding complacency now we’ve been able to recognise the successes and potential in the South West.

“We have to dig deep to continue the excellent work we are doing and call upon the local and national government for recognition and support.  We also have to break the British trait of being modest, and shout about how brilliant we are!“

We’d like to take this opportunity to once again thank Emily for being such a fantastic host!

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