The Business South Annual Conference is the flagship business event in the Central South region’s calendar. Attracting over 200 senior business leaders and key stakeholders from the private and public sector it enables new connections to be established and new collaborations to take place.

As we look towards the future for the Central South, we’ll hear the from business leaders within the region’s key sectors about the opportunities and challenges facing them. There will also be discussions about the key issues impacting our region regarding the economy, skills and the sustainability agenda.

The conference will be hosted by David Allard, Presenter from BBC South and you will also hear from Jonathon Porritt CBE, Sustainability campaigner and writer.

Date: 28th September
Time: 09:00 – 14:00
Venue: Hilton at the Ageas Bowl

Champion Ticket Price: £85.00 Plus VAT
Non Champion Ticket Price: £300.00 plus VAT (Payable at time of booking)
Under 25s Champion Ticket Price: £50.00 Plus VAT

Champion Ticket Price to attend the Annual Conference & Central South Awards: £180.00 plus VAT
Non Champion Ticket Price to attend the Annual Conference & Central South Awards £345.00 plus VAT (Payable at time of booking)
Under 25s Champion Ticket Price to attend the Annual Conference & Central South Awards £130.00 plus VAT


David Allard, Presenter – BBC South (Host)

David is currently a reporter, presenter and producer for BBC South Today, the regional TV news programme.

Prior to training in broadcast journalism at Highbury College in Portsmouth, David ran his own copywriting and audio production business, with clients including the AA, Central Office of Information and the Early Learning Centre. As a producer for Cameo Productions, he worked with film companies including Sony, Universal and Buena Vista on UK radio campaigns.

David’s scripts for a UK government health and safety campaign won an international award. David took a year out to train in Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting and has appeared in shows across the UK.

Before all this he read English at St Anne’s College, Oxford. But perhaps his most notable claim to fame is being recognised by children as the voice of Tumble Tots for ten years!


Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director of Forum for the Future

Jonathon has been on the front line of environmental campaigning for more than 45 years. He’s been a member of the Green Party throughout that time, and has worked tirelessly to promote the solutions to today’s converging environmental crises – as Director of Friends of the Earth in the 1980s, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, the UK’s leading sustainability charity, Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission (2000-2009), President of Population Matters and The Conservation Volunteers, and Chancellor of Keele University (2012-2022).

His work as author and broadcaster has had a huge impact over the years.  His latest book, ‘Hope in Hell’, a powerful ‘call to action’ on the Climate Emergency, was published in June 2020.


Andrew Holder, Agent for Central Southern England – Bank of England

Andrew Holder is the Bank of England’s Agent for Central Southern England.

The Agencies are the Bank’s “eyes, ears and voice” in the regions, collecting information about trends and developments across the country, and explaining the Bank’s views and policy decisions to local businesses and other groups


Cllr Simon Bound, Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

Simon Bound has been Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council since March 2022. He was first elected to the borough council to represent the Rooksdown ward in 2015, joined the Cabinet in 2016 as Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety and was appointed Deputy Leader in 2019.

At the heart of Simon’s council work is single-minded focus on bringing together different organisations to deliver what people need, including feeling safe, healthy and part of their community with easy access to responsive and well-planned services and facilities. This has included being the first councillor to serve four terms as the Chair of the Safer North Hampshire Partnership and being a challenging and engaged participant in several NHS overview groups and the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Police and Crime Panel.

Simon is particularly interested in delivering strong and diverse new communities. He is an enthusiastic campaigner for social and economic infrastructure. He is also keen to ensure the important community fabric is delivered in new or regenerated areas.

Simon has spent much of his life involved in community work as a volunteer. This has covered everything from supporting arts groups and artists and highlighting rural issues to setting up facilities and activities for young people.

With an interest in the effective working of local democracy and continuous council improvement, Simon is a member peer for the Local Government Association and is part of the delivery team for the LGA’s flagship leadership programme, the Leadership Academy.


Fran Collins, CEO – Red Funnel

Fran Collins joined Red Funnel as CEO in June 2018, having spent over 20 years in the merchant marine industry.

Fran’s early career was at sea where she qualified with both Deck and Engineer licences, serving worldwide on various vessel types, particularly oil & gas, cable lay & repair vessels and ferries. In 2002 she joined Condor Ferries as Chief Officer, and subsequently became Condor’s first female Master.

In 2008 Fran transferred into shore-based management, and since then has continued to develop her career through several executive roles which have included operational management, customer services and the delivery of strategic projects. Fran is committed to improving safety and risk management throughout the industry. She is passionate about ensuring that shipping is sustainable for the future by encouraging young people to consider careers in the maritime field, and on the transition to zero emissions and efficient operation by supporting the development and adoption of new and emerging technologies.

Alongside her role as CEO at Red Funnel, Fran also provides support to Saga Cruises as a Non-Executive Director as well as being an active member of a number of industry bodies at a strategic level, including the DfT’s Clean Maritime Council and the IoW Chamber of Commerce. She is also a Group B reservist officer in the British Army, holding the rank of Lt Col in the Staff Corps, 77th Brigade, which provides strategic level advice to a variety of areas within Defence and Government.

In November 2019 Fran received the Merchant Navy Medal for her contribution to the shipping industry and in 2020 was honoured to be nominated and sworn into Trinity House’s Younger Brethren.

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