Kent B2B Ashford chief executive says building relationships key post-brexit

June 12, 2018

Kent B2B Ashford once again provided a platform for businesses from across the county to connect with hundreds of delegates enjoying an event that put the art of building relationships front and centre.

Ashford International Hotel once again paid host to the event, organised by the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce (KICC), with the Expo enjoying good footfall through the day supported by a packed speaker and workshop programme.

Jo James, Chief Executive, KICC, opened proceedings describing the event as a great place to celebrate what was good in businesses, something that would be important as the UK prepares to leave Europe.

“This is the 32nd year of B2B and we’ve stripped the event right back to really be about the art of conversation – the value of talking and building relationships.  I’m delighted to have seen so much of that taking place today.

“With Brexit just 295 days away, change is coming and building relationships is more important than ever. What we need is clarity from the government and getting our future relationship with Europe and the rest of the world right is paramount.

“Getting the fundamentals right at home is paramount to enabling the business community to maximise the opportunities it presents.

Kent born Millie Knight, Paralympic silver medallist and world champion skier was the headline speaker at this year’s event. She inspired delegates with her story about overcoming the odds to achieve success, but also took time to thank Kent’s business community for their contribution to her success.

“I’m Kent through and through and wouldn’t have achieved what I have without support from county’s business – 80% of my sponsors are Canterbury and Kent based.

“In sport, and business, there’s real value in being resilient, determined and forming relationships, and that’s where events like Kent B2B come in.”

Bringing business insight to the line-up this year was Jae Hopkins, the sales and marketing director responsible for getting Eurotunnel Le Shuttle noticed on both sides of the Channel.  It was one of her first business talks in Kent, since taking up the role in November.

“Eurotunnel is one of the seven wonders of the modern world and we want more people to know about Eurotunnel and that is good for the whole of Kent – getting people to drive through the county.

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle was a headline sponsor of the 2018 event. Now in its 32nd year, Kent B2B it is the county’s longest running networking event and a meeting place for businesses from all over the county to connect and celebrate the best of Kent.

Digital strategy and social media skills were be the focus of two digital marketing workshops hosted by Giant Campus this year. The Folkestone-based company recently won a contact to produce content for the prestigious Google’s award-winning Digital Garage.

Delegates were shared the secrets to authentic and effective social media marketing and heard why an integrated approach to marketing helped establish a firm presence online.

Cllr Brad Bradford, Ashford Borough Council’s Cabinet Member with portfolio responsibility for Highways, Wellbeing and Safety was the main speaker at the business breakfast, sponsored by Caxtons.

He spoke about his journey from PC to politician, providing insight on one of the most forward-thinking borough councils in the UK updating on projects such as Ashford Spurs and the first phase of Ashford Commercial Quarter launching this week.

Delegates were also given up to the minute business advice and guidance at a series of bitesize talks from Brachers, including a question time on new data protection regulations (GDPR) that came into force last month.

The next KentB2B Expo takes place at No3 Slip at the Historic Dockyard Chatham  on 20 September 2018. To book a stand or to set a date, visit