News - 31 May 2018

UK Business Pioneers to speak at D2N2’s 2018 Annual Conference

The Managing Director of East Midlands Airport, the CEO and founder of now-global internet marketing service UNiDAYS and the founder of Derbyshire’s first ever malt whisky distillery will be guest speakers at the 2018 D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Annual Conference and AGM.

The free business event will be held from 8.30am to 11:00am on Tuesday July 24 (2018) at The Nottingham Contemporary, on Weekday Cross in Nottingham City Centre (NG1 2GB). Around 150 delegates drawn from companies of all sizes, politics, education providers, community organisations and others working in the D2N2 area and nationally are expected to attend.

D2N2 is the private-sector led partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, community groups and social enterprises, and other organisations which promotes economic growth and jobs creation across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

To book online to secure a place at the Conference go to the D2N2 Events’ web page at or alternatively contact Sam Burbage, D2N2 LEP Social Media and Marketing Officer, on email or 0115 957 8254.

Guest speakers at this year’s event are:

Karen Smart, Managing Director of East Midlands Airport (EMA) – Karen took up the role of East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director in April of this year (2018). She leads a team of 600 employees at the international passenger airport which connects almost 5million passengers a year to over 80 destinations worldwide. EMA is also the UK’s busiest pure cargo airport. Prior to her new role at EMA, Karen was Director of Landside Operations at London Stansted – the UK’s fourth largest airport. She has also worked for service company Serco and began her career as an engineer in the Royal Air Force.

Josh Rathour, CEO and Founder of UNiDAYS – Mr Rathour set up UNiDAYS in Nottingham in 2011 and was named 2017’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Ernst and Young. UNiDAYS has 10million student members across 114 countries and was ranked first in the annual Sunday Times Lloyds SME Export Track 100, based on international sales growth. Prior to the creation of UNiDAYS, Josh was a commercial property agent and Nottingham Trent University student.

Max Vaughan, founder of the White Peak Distillery – Located in Ambergate, White Peak is believed to be Derbyshire’s first ever commercial whisky distillery and after years of planning was finally commissioned in early 2018. The casks of whisky are now being filled and laid down for the minimum 3-year maturation period, so the first bottled whisky will be available from late 2021. White Peak is also distilling and selling gin, which unlike whisky does not require ageing. White Peak has other spirits in the pipeline and has also recently started offering distillery tours. Prior to establishing White Peak, Max worked in the mining sector (finance) for 20 years and is currently the part-time Chief Financial Officer for an early stage junior mining company, listed in Canada with offices in London. Max grew up in Derbyshire and following some years away returned with his family in 2010.

Delegates at the 2018 Annual Conference and AGM will also hear from D2N2 Chairman Peter Richardson (pictured) and Interim Chief Executive Matthew Wheatley on the Local Enterprise Partnership’s successes over the last year; and how it is delivering on its targets, including on increasing jobs numbers and aiding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow. D2N2’s new Annual Review video will be shown at the conference and delegates will also get the chance to network over breakfast, which will be provided at the event, free of charge.

Peter Richardson, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I look forward to welcoming delegates to our 2018 Conference, to hear about a year in which D2N2 has delivered on targets and planned for the future.

“We’re halfway through our ten-year plan to create 55,000 new private sector jobs and we’ve made great progress. We’re continuing to invest in our people, businesses and infrastructure. We’ve agreed £30million to the Nottingham City Hub, which will transform the face of further education in Nottingham and £6.7million to the A52 Wyvern Works in Derby, which will create 3,300 jobs. We’ve also agreed £7million for the Nottingham Castle project and invested £3.7million in the Derby Silk Mill Museum of Making project. These, together with other projects we’re involved with, such as the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre and the Buxton Pump Rooms, will make Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire a five-star destination, for both people and businesses.

“We’re funding programmes to help people into work, to support social enterprises and tackle social exclusion. These are now well underway and are having a significant impact. The D2N2 Growth Hub has also expanded its services for businesses, having now engaged with more than 6,000 SMEs across the LEP’s area. We are determined that the economic benefits we create for our area are shared by all communities.”

To book online to attend the 2018 Annual Conference (a maximum of two people per organisation, please) go to the D2N2 LEP Events’ web page at or alternatively contact Sam Burbage, D2N2 LEP Social Media and Marketing Officer, on email or 0115 957 8254.

For more information about the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership see its website at and for the D2N2 Growth Hub go to 

Sam Burbage

D2N2 Social Media and Marketing Officer

01159 578254

For More Information on the above release, please contact:

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