Northern leaders to gather to set the agenda for post-pandemic growth

20 January 2021

Invest North has unveiled an exceptional line-up of speakers for its first virtual conference which takes place in March. The event brings together the brightest minds and passionate voices of the North to set the agenda for what happens next.

With lockdown restrictions expected to remain in place until March, the large-scale event is perfectly timed to examine how the North can move forward and accelerate its post-Covid recovery.

Invest North is a full day packed with insight, analysis and original research that will make it an inspiring and informative event that you can’t afford to miss. The event is being curated by and its headline sponsors are EY, Squire Patton Boggs, Impact Data Metrics, and Influential.

The virtual conference takes place on Wednesday, March 24, and tickets are now on sale at for an early bird price of £30+VAT.

A stellar line-up of speakers are already confirmed with leading voices from business and politics.

The day’s highlights include:

* Renowned economist Lord Jim O’Neill, who is widely credited as the architect of the Northern Powerhouse, will speak on releasing the economic potential of the North. Four Northern metro-mayors – Andy Burnham, Jamie Driscoll, Ben Houchen and Dan Jarvis – will be discussing their long-term strategies and the future of the devolved North.

* Former Northern Powerhouse minister and leader of the parliamentary Northern Research Group Jake Berry MP will lead a discussion on the North’s relationship with global markets. He will be joined by John Boehner, the former speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the UK head of the Confederation of Indian Industry Lakshmi Kaul.

* The founder of The Hut Group Matt Moulding will be part of a panel assessing how the North can nurture the next generation of unicorns in a time of economic disruption and technological change.

* Paralympian and Sheffield City Region’s active travel commissioner Dame Sarah Storey, Manchester Airport managing director Karen Smart, West Yorkshire Combined Authority chair Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, ITM Power chief executive Dr Graham Cooley, and Northern Powerhouse Partnership director Henri Murison are among the contributors on transport infrastructure investment and the green transport revolution.

* Manchester United’s chief operating officer Collette Roche, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive James Mason, Marketing Manchester managing director Sheona Southern, and Merlin Entertainments’ head of Blackpool cluster Kate Shane will examine how we sell the North to the world, using its cultural assets to maximise inward investment opportunities.

* NP11 and Leeds City Region LEP chair Roger Marsh will lead a session on achieving generational change in the North, alongside Britishvolt’s chief strategy officer Isobel Sheldon, who is behind the UK’s first EV battery gigaplant in Northumberland.
* The opportunity for the North to lead the way in decarbonising how we live and work will be the subject of thought provocations in an interactive session chaired by N8 Research Group director Dr Annette Bramley, with Victoria Merton of Peel Protos, City of York Council’s environment and climate change executive member Paula Widdowson, and Sophie Walker, the tech entrepreneur behind the waste business Dsposal.

* Northern Changemakers will examine how the region sets the agenda on diversity and inclusion, with Professional Liverpool’s Irene Afful, who was Merseyside Police’s first black female Inspector, Beth Houghton, head of Palatine Private Equity’s Impact Fund, Women in the Law UK founder Sally Penni, and recruitment chief executive and Friends of Dorothy founder Craig Burton.

Lee-J Walker, joint managing director of, said: “Invest North will be the major business event in the North in the first half of 2021. From the analysis of the North’s pandemic resilience through to the long-term vision and ambitions, the conference will provide a platform for business-critical information and blue-sky ideas.

“We are looking forward to welcoming business leaders and influencers to a day packed full of inspiration and opportunity.”

The conference sponsors and exhibitors include In The Circle, Laws of Attraction, Leeds Business School, Mercia, Nexus, Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, OakNorth Bank, Robiquity, and Turner & Townsend.

It is also being supported by the Department for International Trade, NP11, Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Transport for the North, Marketing Lancashire, Marketing Liverpool, Marketing Manchester, Sheffield City Region, Welcome to Yorkshire, IoD, Manchester Airports Group, Northern Power Women & Futures, Northern Asian Power List, UK Israel Business (North East), In the Circle, North Invest, and the 6% Club.

Organisations interested in exhibiting at the event can contact [email protected] for more information about how to have a presence at Invest North.

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