TBE’s South West Charity Conference & Expo 2023 review

By Nick Batten on 16 June, 2023

The Business Exchange South West Charity Conference and Expo 2023 was the biggest and best to date.

With pent up demand for more networking events across the region, the 5th annual event brought together businesses, charities and individuals for a packed day of learning, connecting and sharing.

With seminars throughout the day complemented by an expo featuring an eclectic mix of corporate and third sector organisations, the event drew hundreds of people to Bath Racecourse from across the country.

Event founder and Editor of The Business Exchange, Anita Jaynes, said, “Here in the South West we’re making a buzz about the amazing work of charities here and flying the flag as collaborators too.

“Collaboration starts with asking questions and igniting the conversation, so we’re proud to be providing a forum where businesses, individuals and charities can come together on the same level to start discussions, learn from each other and forge meaningful partnerships for the benefit of the entire community.”

The day kicked off with a networking breakfast. A panel featuring Anita Jaynes, Digital Wonderlab Founder Nathan Baranowski, Deputy CEO of Wiltshire Air Ambulance Barbara Grey and philanthropist and entrepreneur James Phipps discussed the merits of, and opportunities surrounding, collaboration between businesses and third sector organisations.

“Collaborations are about partnerships – it’s about walking into a space like this and being there as equals. At Digital Wonderlab we pride ourselves on being available and open to have conversations to understand needs. Events like this are really important – places where people can go and ask a question.
“It has to start with pause, think and connect – open up and bring people in. As leaders, we need this kind of space.
“From a tech point of view, good tech makes our lives easier. If it doesn’t do that, we shouldn’t use it.
“We need to think about how we can use tech to help us engage and do things in a better way. We need to purposefully look at how we use it to help us.”
Nathan Baranowski, Founder, Digital Wonderlab

“Charities need different help at different times, sometimes it’s a cheque, sometimes manpower and sometimes being a trustee to help drive engagement.
“We all know the UK has massive challenges, all these can’t be fixed by the public sector, or by charities or businesses by themselves. We have to find a way of coming together as a collective to solve these problems.
“It makes good business sense to help solve problems in your community.
“We need to provide more environments like this conference to bring people together. The conversations that have a genuine impact are not had without a forum like this. It’s about engagement and providing environments like this where people can talk without pressure. We need to provide this type of environment more to allow people to make meaningful connections.”
James Phipps, Chairman, SMARTEch Energy

Seminars throughout the day included:

  • Charities Vital Signs Report with Quartet Community Foundation
  • Finance FAQs with Milsted Langdon
  • Inflation risk and cash reserves with RBC Brewin Dolphin
  • Collaboration at Work with Stone King
  • Talking Mental Health with James Gwinnett former rugby player and SAS: Who Dares Wins contestant.
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion taster workshop with Bath Rugby Foundation
  • Growing your social media presence organically with Black Nova Designs
  • An introduction to smartphone filmmaking and photography with Compass Video

Here are some of the key takeaways and quotes from the day.

“As one of the founding sponsors, it’s fantastic to have people travelling across the country to this event in Bath. It speaks volumes about the quality of the event. The conference started because there was a need for it and we have been staggered by the response.
“From our perspective as a firm, we have a charitable ethos. We see the importance of using our knowledge to help charities. We’re a relatively big organisation and have decided that every member of staff has a day a year, fully paid, which they can donate to charity. It’s the right thing to do and it  helps us retain staff and supports the communities in which we operate.
“Charities need to engage with businesses and that’s exactly what this event allows.”
Gill Freeman, Partner and Head of Charity and Not-for-Profit, Milsted Langdon

“I was a founding Director of Bath BID and my role was to knock on 650 doors and convince businesses that the BID was a good idea – it was about supporting the community and working in collaboration for the betterment of the city and its surrounds.
“The Business Exchange has always been keen to support the community of Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire and I’m a believer in collaborations for the betterment of a region and its people.
“It’s about bringing partners together, the contacts they can make and the doors they can open. When charities and third sector organisations are brought together its about more than just money.
“The ethos of this whole day is that even the smallest charity can benefit, mixing with big organisations and all working together as equals.
“This is about the South West, not just about Bath. It’s great that it’s growing and expanding and long may it continue to do so.”
Leslie Redwood, Head of Charities Business Development, RBC Brewin Dolphin
Event sponsors Alexandra Steffensen, Stone King (far left), Gill Freeman, Milsted Langdon, Les Redwood, RBC Brewin Dolphin (far right) with Anita Jaynes, Founder of The Business Exchange (centre)
“It’s great to be here connecting with like-minded charities, businesses and individuals to support our region’s third sector organisations. In today’s world, working together and making meaningful connections is key for charities, and this conference and expo helps us to do exactly that.
Jo Common, Julia’s House
“Collaboration can be sensitive and political. But its about taking individuals on that journey with you and creating a culture that’s inclusive. We need work environments where we can strive and thrive to be the best we can be and you can’t achieve that without collaboration.”
Mina Jesa, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Specialist & Trainer

The day was made possible thanks to the support of event sponsors Milsted Langdon, Stone King and RBC Brewin Dolphin.