Group of diverse business people on panel discussion

South Central regional event: Southampton

Regional conferences | Jan 24

Delivered by:

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Sponsored by:

HM Government logo

South Central regional event: Southampton

March 26th
9:30 am – 2:00 pm
The Grand Harbour hotel, W Quay Rd, Southampton SO15 1AG

Highlighted speakers:

Mel Archbould 

Mel Archbould  Founder, Cloud-busting

Lois Farquharson

Lois Farquharson Professor of Leadership Practice and the Executive Dean, Bournemouth University Business School

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The theme for this half-day conference is ‘people and productivity’. Our aim is to equip you, as an SME business leader, to manage business growth effectively and unleash the full potential of your team.

This event will feature a highly engaging masterclass led by industry expert, Mel Archbould. Gain the insights and skills needed to navigate the shift from small-scale to medium-scale operations smoothly. We will also be joined by business experts who will offer you free advice and tailored business support, and a panel discussion on employee engagement and motivation.

Key takeaways will include:

  • a strategy masterclass delivered by Mel Archbould. Learn how to manage rapid business growth and seamlessly transition from small-scale to medium-scale operations. This session will enable you to master the art of delegation and effectively restructure your priorities as an SME leader.
  • free business advice from the representatives at British Business Bank, the Department for Business and Trade, Innovate UK and NatWest.
  • an employee engagement panel discussion. Discover how to increase staff motivation and create a better-engaged workforce.

Don’t miss this opportunity to grow your network and forge new business connections.


09:30 Breakfast and registration

Breakfast and refreshments are provided.

10:00 Opening remarks from the conference chair

Lois Farquharson, Executive Dean and Professor of Leadership Practice, Bournemouth University Business School

10:05 Facilitated networking exercise  

10:20 Keynote fireside chat: Catalysts for success

Carl is a seasoned and serial entrepreneur who has built successful businesses over the past three decades. He embarked on his entrepreneurial journey right after finishing school and has consistently launched ventures that have achieved success and profitable exits. Notably, in 2003, Carl secured the top position on the “Rich List 2020”. In his fireside chat, Carl will shed light on his experience from starting up, to scaling, to selling, and outline invaluable lessons learned when it comes to managing people and growth.

Carl Churchill, CEO And Founder, New Payment Innovation Limited And V Rum

Chaired by Eleanor Rowley, Regional Ecosystem Manager, South West & South Central, NatWest.

10:40 Strategic time management: Shifting from working IN your business to working ON your business

As an organisation expands, there comes a pivotal moment in its growth journey when the leader’s role must adjust to align with the new multi-layered structure of the business. Led by Mel Archbould, a seasoned business leader and former Managing Director in the engineering sector with over 17 years of invaluable experience, this session is designed to navigate you through this crucial transition.

With the growth of the business, there is an increasing demand for a strategic focus on long-term goals, customer-centric initiatives, and overarching strategies. Effectively managing and shrinking your to-do list requires cultivating trust, mastering the art of delegation, and implementing a well-defined framework. This session empowers you to gain the confidence needed to restructure your priorities without hindering the progression from small-scale to medium-scale operations.

Key takeaways from this session will include:

• embracing an ambitious yet achievable goal-setting framework.

• access to business leader self-assessment tools.

• case studies of successful business transformations.

Mel Archbould, CEO of Cloud Busting – Practical scale-up support for SMEs.

12:00 break

12:20 Unlocking employee engagement and motivation in SMEs

Part 1 – Expert panel session   

It has become increasingly difficult to motivate and retain staff. How can you ensure you’re keeping employees engaged without sacrificing productivity?  

During this panel discussion, expert practitioners and local business leaders will share tried and tested employee motivation techniques that nurture talent development and a feeling of purpose for employees.  

Key takeaways will include: 

  • 8 key engagement strategies to become an employer of choice. 
  • an understanding of what motivates you and your staff.  
  • case studies featuring businesses that paved their way to success by implementing these practices.  

Part 2 – Group discussions  

Following the panel session, you will be placed into smaller groups to explore 9 key work motivators and how to describe, measure, monitor and maximise motivations in the workplace. You will be encouraged to analyse client case studies, discuss key learnings and derive actionable strategies relevant to your business.  

Steve Jones, Managing Director, Skills for Business, author and leadership trainer 

Jessica Comolly-Jones, Director, Rubicon People Partnership 

Sandeep Sesodia, CEO, Parity Trust

Liam Doe, Founder, Old Bond Store

13:20 Closing remarks from the conference chair

Lois Farquharson, Executive Dean and Professor of Leadership Practice, Bournemouth University Business School  

13:30 Lunch, networking and exhibitions


Please find follow up links from the speakers below:


If you have any questions, please get in touch by email at or contact the Small Business Charter by phone on 020 7634 9584.

Capacity is limited so please register your place as soon as possible.

About our Speakers

Mel Archbould 

Mel Archbould  Founder, Cloud-busting

Steve Jones

Steve Jones Managing Director, Skills for Business, author and leadership trainer

Lois Farquharson

Lois Farquharson Professor of Leadership Practice and the Executive Dean, Bournemouth University Business School

Harry Pocknell

Harry Pocknell Strategy and Creative Director, Salad

Jessica Comolly-Jones

Jessica Comolly-Jones Director, Rubicon People Partnership

Carl Churchill

Carl Churchill CEO and founder, New Payment Innovation Limited and V Rum

Sandeep Sesodia

Sandeep Sesodia CEO, Parity Trust

Eleanor Rowley

Eleanor Rowley Regional Ecosystem Manager, NatWest

About our business support

British Business Bank

The British Business Bank offers free financial tools and advice. While they do not lend or invest directly, they are experts in small business finance and work with more than 200 partners such as banks and venture capital funds, to help businesses like yours.

Be prepared to:

  • Understand more about the finance options available to you and your business
  • Find finance providers, business support and information available in your region 
Susan Elliott

Susan Elliott Senior Manager, British Business Bank

You will be speaking to Susan, who represents the British Business Bank across the South-East region. Susan works closely with finance intermediaries and stakeholders to help SMEs in the South East of England access the finance they need to grow and prosper.

Department for Business and Trade

The Department for Business and Trade helps UK SMEs identify and win new sales opportunities in overseas markets. They do this by providing advice, market intelligence and custom-made support to maximise your potential growth whilst minimising risk when selling products or services overseas.  

To make the most of this opportunity, we ask that you prepare your “pitch” by developing your export plan using the structure in the following link as a guide – 

Rob Lewtas

Rob Lewtas Strategic Partnerships Manager, Department for Business and Trade

You will be speaking to Rob, who is a Manager at the Department for Business and Trade. Rob works closely with multinational clients, helping them develop and secure new business opportunities in complex global markets.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is a UK-based innovation agency that aims to drive business innovation and productivity. They provide facilities and a framework of funding, finance and one-to-one support from over 400 innovation specialists and scaleup directors embedded in every UK region and nation. 

Be prepared to:

  • Sharpen your commercial strategies
  • Realise your maximum value from your IP
  • Raise game-changing investments
Rocky Moore

Rocky Moore Innovation and Growth Specialist, Innovate UK EDGE

You will be speaking to Rocky, who is an Innovation and Growth Specialist at Innovate UK. Rocky’s role involves aiding businesses to succeed through government funding and support initiatives. Please come ready to discuss your products and services, as well as your growth ambitions.


The NatWest Accelerator supports and empowers UK entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to the next level.

This free accelerator programme offers: 

  • One-to-one coaching with experienced Acceleration Managers 
  • A programme of thought leadership and events 
  • Access to a network of like-minded peers, supported by our Ecosystem Managers 
  • Focused support with access to experts from across your specialism 
  • Modern co-working spaces in one of our nationwide hubs. 
Eleanor Rowley

Eleanor Rowley Regional Ecosystem Manager, NatWest

You will be speaking to Eleanor, who is the Regional Ecosystem Manager at NatWest. Eleanor has supported several business owners in achieving growth by supporting their investment in fixed assets, sustainability, AI and automation.

If you’d like to hear more about Natwest’s accelerator programme or enterprise financial health checks, be sure to book your slot and speak to their representative.

Whether you bank with Natwest or not, they can support your business’s growth plans.

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