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Cumbrian firms plan for an innovative future

Conference delegates Letty Ashworth (Lakeland Stitch), Jane Exley (Wooly Rug Co), Alison Tordoff (Fidget Design) and Sally-Anne Lambert (Moongazer Cards)

More than 60 Cumbrian businesses involved in the tourism sector met in Kendal for a summit conference on innovation.

The day-long event at the Castle Green Hotel, organised by the Cumbria Innovations Platform, featured keynote speakers and workshops which were aimed at small and medium businesses who want to turn ideas into reality.

It attracted food and drink providers, designers, crafts companies and many others involved in the visitor economy supply chain.

Guest speaker Geoff Ramm, the creator and author of Celebrity Service and OMG Marketing, led the series of inspirational talks.

He was joined by the MD of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh; Craig Ivison, Head of Skills at Cumbria LEP; and Fiona Kilkelly from the Government-funded Innovate UK family.

Geoff Ramm, who believes that the only way to attract more customers is to create “jaw-dropping marketing”, spoke about the importance of marketing when any business has an innovative idea.

The European Regional Development funded event was organised to give firms the opportunity to learn how innovation and realising ideas can provide business growth.

Sarah Allison, organiser, left, with guest speaker Geoff Ramm, and Cumbria Tourism MD Gill Haigh

Organiser Sarah Allison said: “Our key speakers gave very interesting and informative presentations and our guest speaker, Geoff Ramm, really wowed everyone.   During the afternoon we had a series of mini-workshops on tourism related subjects.”

Alison Tordoff, of Fidget Design, said: “The event -affirmed the direction that we were thinking of heading in and has given us confidence to press on and move forward with our future plans.”

Mrs Allison said that the most popular workshops were those on sustainable tourism and events. “This was great to witness and really demonstrated that Cumbria SME’s really are committed to sustainability and addressing climate change.

“We want to help businesses overcome barriers to innovation and to support them in getting their ideas off to a flying start. There will be more events soon to follow on from this.”

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