Helen Wylde, the chief executive of Cornwall-based broadband provider Wildanet, has been appointed to a high-powered national business body launched by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) to work in partnership with Government and politicians of all parties to drive the future of the economy.
The inaugural meeting of the new Business Council brought together some of the most prominent British businesses, alongside Cabinet Minister, the Rt Hon Michael Gove and Shadow Chancellor, the Rt Hon Rachel Reeves.
The Business Council will focus on five key challenges and will develop policy proposals with the ambition of transforming the future of the UK economy. Its initial recommendations will feed into a business manifesto in the New Year that will aim to influence political party manifestos ahead of the General Election. The Council will then work to develop follow-up papers – to help the next Government set a business-backed agenda from day one and establish a long-term strategy for growth.
Helen Wylde is expected to play key role in particular in the ‘digital revolution’ theme of the Business Council’s work.
Under her leadership, Wildanet has established a reputation as a champion for digital innovation and inclusion at both a local and national level, with Wylde giving evidence earlier this year before the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee investigating the impact of digital exclusion on individuals.
She said: “The insight and experience of values-led businesses such as ours and from regions like Cornwall, Devon and the wider south west should be part of any national conversation around inclusive, sustainable growth.
“I’m delighted to have been asked to join the Business Council and to contribute to the important role it will play in helping shape a successful future for the UK economy.”
Kim Conchie, chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, added: “Under Helen’s leadership, Wildanet has taken Cornwall by storm, launching a new training academy to boost skills in the region, securing Shared Prosperity Funds for a multi-million pound broadband rollout, and creating hundreds of new jobs in the Duchy.
“Helen is a brilliant thought leader and business leader, and I can’t think of a better person to champion Cornwall at a national level on this important new Business Council.”
The five challenges on which the Business Council will focus are:
- People and Work
- Digital Revolution
- Green Innovation
- Global Britain
- Local Economy of the Future
BCC president and Business Council chair, Baroness Martha Lane Fox, said: “Now more than ever, businesses must come together to tackle the challenges facing the UK economy.
“In the face of economic disruption and with a general election looming, our new, national Business Council will help the voice of business to be heard loud and clear by policymakers.
“Together in partnership with politicians, it will find the answers to the key issues facing the UK economy, so it was great to have Michael Gove and Rachel Reeves join us for our inaugural event today.
“The expertise and experience that our council members bring to the table allows for a powerful and engaging debate about the problems but also helps to identify the solutions.”
The Rt Hon Michael Gove added: “The Government is focused on the Prime Minister’s missions to grow the economy and halve inflation.
“Levelling up plays a crucial part in that which is why I’m so pleased to be meeting with leading businesses at the BCC Business Council to discuss challenges and opportunities across the country and am very grateful to the British Chamber of Commerce for their excellent work on the Business Council.
“Boosting skills up and down the country and improving digital connectivity are key tenets of spreading opportunity across the UK, and will in, turn, contribute to economic growth.”