Business Ambassadors Treated to a 21st Century Venue

Senior representatives from over 50 local companies attended the Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors meeting at the newly built Forum on Thursday 16 March to network and listen to two interesting and entertaining presentations; Sally Marshall, Chief Executive of Dacorum Borough Council – A 21st Century Venue for a 21st Century Council – and John Unsworth, Chief Executive of the London Digital Security Centre on the Physical Prevention of Virtual Crime.

As Hemel Hempstead new town celebrates its 70th birthday this year, Sally Marshall talked in depth about the Hemel Hempstead evolution programme and declared the Forum “more than just a building” and a “catalyst for regeneration” – all part and parcel of the extensive plans for the town encompassing the Old Town, Marlowes and the New Town Square, Bus interchange, Jellicoe Water Gardens, and the Forum, the town’s new shared services hub. In addition, the next stage of the programme will see a significant residential scheme built on the former magistrates and health centre sites which will create 207 residential apartments of which 35% will be affordable.

Sally Marshall wrapped up her presentation saying, “I am pleased to be here today with so many of our Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors in our new Forum, further demonstrating Dacorum’s commitment to working collaboratively and in partnership with the private sector.  I know that by working together we will be able to create an environment that will attract further inward investment and economic growth of the Borough.”

The results of this collaborative approach has seen an estimated £250m invested into Dacorum in 2015/2016 and all indicators point to increased investment in 2017/2018, with the Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors championing the area to developers and investors.

John Unsworth, appointed by the Mayor of London, introduced ‘ActionFraud’ the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre and presented some startling statistics; a crime was reported every 1.2 minutes in 2015/16 with an average loss of £65,000 with 74% of small businesses suffering security breaches. “We are all vulnerable”, said John, “and identity theft is now at its highest level” no surprise given the way our lives are immersed 24/7 with online technology and the ‘internet of things’. John went on to say “you cannot automatically trust what you see or hear or receive online, but always verify its source and accuracy”. Furthermore, the introduction of the GDPR in 2018 will have a significant impact on the way businesses record and use data and, in turn, on the supply chain and duty of care.

Gary Stringer, Ambassador Place Manager, also took the opportunity to introduce two new Ambassadors: Prologis and Astley Cooper School saying, “We are delighted that ACS have come on-board, young people are our future employment pipeline and it’s imperative that they are involved and engaged with our local employers, developing the skills to keep the area competitive.” And went on to say “the new Prologis’ Maylands gateway scheme for the town will secure over £80 million of private sector investment and will support around 750-1,000 jobs in the manufacturing and logistics sectors, as well as providing an exciting new gateway into the town from the M1. This is yet another great example of why Hemel Hempstead is a place you can do business.”

Our Ambassadors