Latest News | 2 November 2022

London Embassy anniversary celebrated in style

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Marketing Derby has celebrated the 15th anniversary of its London Embassy in style.

Last night, almost 200 guests, including bondholders, investors, ambassadors and politicians from both the Houses of Lords and Commons, gathered in the historic surroundings of Lancaster House for the London Embassy, backed by event partner Smith Partnership.

As well as networking in stunning surroundings, they heard from keynote speakers, including Jackie Wild, from SmartParc, the firm behind a high-tech food manufacturing and distribution campus on the outskirts of Derby, and Henrik-Juhl Hansen from Vaillant UK, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of environmentally friendly heating and air-conditioning technology, which has its head office at Belper.

Speaking on the night, John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “It’s astonishing to think that we held our first embassy 15 years ago.

“On that occasion it took place at the House of Commons – and the idea was to bring ‘Team Derby’ together for a celebration and build confidence. Since then, the embassy has been held at some amazing places, including Downing Street, Lambeth Palace and the London Sky Garden.

“It really does work – over the past 10 years Marketing Derby has helped to attract over 5,000 jobs and £500 million of investment.”

Attendees to last night’s event were welcomed on the door by High Sheriff of Derbyshire Mike Copestake, Kevin McGrath, managing partner at Smith Partnership and Bob Betts, chairman of Marketing Derby.

As they entered the spectacular main hall of Lancaster House, guests were serenaded with jazz tunes performed by Hot House Music , before networking in The Long Gallery.

In his opening words, Mr Forkin explained how that same room was used in 1953 by Winston Churchill to host the Coronation Banquet of Queen Elizabeth II.

In his speech, the High Sheriff, Mr Copestake, who was Marketing Derby’s first chairman, spoke of his pride at the organisation becoming the only inward investment agency in the UK to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

He said: “I was absolutely enthralled to be chairman of Marketing Derby. Right from the start, it was always a partnership between the public and private sectors, which ultimately led to the Queen’s Award. It’s a fantastic success.”

The embassy also heard from keynote speakers about why they were investing in Derby and Derbyshire.

Among them was Henrik-Juhl Hansen, managing director of Vaillant UK, part of the Vaillant Group, which has a presence in over 20 countries with national sales companies, and exports to more than 60 states.

A family-owned company with a £3bn turnover, it has a heritage of more than 141 years in providing customers with energy-saving solutions for heating, cooling and hot water.

In his speech, he outlined his company’s long-standing commitment to Derbyshire and its current investment in the transition to green tech as it looks to help the world meet its energy challenges.

He said: “Only through true collaboration will we meet the UK and world’s green targets.

“We have brilliant relationships with Derbyshire and Marketing Derby.”

The embassy also heard a passionate contribution from Jackie Wild, chief executive and founder of SmartParc and TSL Ltd.

SmartParc SEGRO Derby is a £300 million scheme, which aims to pave the way for collaboration in the food industry to meet the challenges of sustainable production while addressing the need for efficient direct routes to consumers.

Being created on the former British Celanese site at Spondon, the SmartParc SEGRO campus aims to combine world-class food production facilities with shared utilities, amenities and services to provide a sustainable, low-cost production base for food manufacturers.

It will provide 5,000 new jobs in the area over the coming years -with HelloFresh already on site, creating 400 new positions.

In her address, Jackie highlighted the company’s rapid Derby investment journey, and support received from Derby City Council from concept to the creation of the campus and attraction of Hello Fresh within a year.

She also highlighted why SmartParc was needed now more than ever, in light of rising energy costs and potential future food shortages across the globe.

She said: “What Smartparc is all about is reimagining how we produce food and how we help solve the food crisis.

“Derby will be at the centre of the food revolution. It will be the place that is remembered as where the food revolution began.”

Closing the speeches, Bob Betts, who, as well as being chairman of Marketing Derby is also managing director of Smith of Derby, said: “Thank you all for the time you’ve invested in Derby.

“And for those who are still inquisitive about Derby, jump on that train and come and see us.”

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