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Freeths - Law firm
News 27th Apr 2015

Academia and business launch new Derby business forum

National leading law firm Freeths LLP and the University of Derby Business School have teamed up to develop a series of exciting new business debates.

On Wednesday the 15 April the pair hosted the first debate at Derby University, with the subject being “The EU – Is it good or bad for British business?”. High profile business leaders congregated to launch an inspiring discussion on Britain’s future in Europe and how any changes will have an impact on businesses in the UK.

With the election fast approaching and parties all offering a different vision of Britain’s relationship with Europe, senior business leaders, consultants and professional advisers discussed the future of their businesses. The evening was hosted by chairperson Mike Copestake of Freeths, Alan Halsall, chairman from Silver Cross and Business for Britain and Dr Laura Cohen, chief executive of British Ceramics Confederation. At a European level, Laura is a member of Cerame-Unie (European Trade Association) Directors’ committee and Chair of their Environment committee.

Some major key issues were raised during the debates with Dr Laura Cohen arguing that if the UK was independent, negotiating free trade agreements with the UK alone would be low down on the USA’s and other countries priority list. Stating it would take the UK a considerable amount of time to negotiate its own free trade agreement with the EU and referring to the fact that it took Switzerland 10 years to negotiate its agreement with the EU. Meaning the Ceramics industry could be seriously damaged during that time.

Alan Halsall, put forward an opinion that small businesses and SME’s had a vast swathe of regulations to get through which they were inadequately resourced to be able to handle and are a constraint on job creation. Yet small business is responsible for most of the growth in job creation in the UK.

These points among many others that were raised were the catalyst for conversation and Mike Copestake of Freeths was delighted with how the first debate went:

“I am delighted to be chairing this event alongside Alan and Laura, it is an opportunity to share my knowledge in the current business sector which was able to spark discussion on some pressing matters on Britain’s role within the EU.”

Ian Roberts, Head of Derby Business School said:

“We were delighted to be involved with this topical debate on an issue that is so very important to the organisations and community that we serve. Derby Business school is proud to be working with Freeths on a number of projects and we are looking forward to the next debate on October 7th. Our students and staff enjoyed contributing to and networking on the evening – this kind of event is invaluable for developing skills and knowledge to develop the leaders of the future.”

The next debate will also take place at the University of Derby and will be held on the 7 October 2015, the topic will be centred on growth and skills, more details will be released shortly.

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