A new leader has taken the helm of one of Scarborough's leading organisations.
Jo Thompson will chair the Business Ambassadors following the 19-year leadership of Peter Wilkinson, who announced earlier this year that he was stepping down.
Jo, managing director of her own business, has reviewed the aims of the group in conjunction with her 13 co-directors.
Peter was previously vice-chairman of the Renaissance Town Team and was charged by Yorkshire Forward to develop a Scarborough business forum.
He initiated the ambassador group in 2003 to discuss issues faced by the business parks at Eastfield.
Following a series of dinners with business leaders to showcase the town, this eventually led to the creation of the Scarborough Business Ambassadors Ltd in 2013.
Scarborough Science and Engineering Week and the foundation of Scarborough UTC are among his achievements.
The UTC curriculum is STEM-based ensuring that Scarborough engineering and manufacturing companies can recruit qualified and employment-ready young people, some of whom have gone on to companies such as GCHQ, F1 constructors, Plaxton, Unison and McLaren motors, said Peter.
"I am very proud of raising the business profile of the town,” he added.
"The creation of the UTC to provide desperately-needed skills fills me with pride.
"We have held 150 forum dinners with high-level speakers from a variety of industries and organisations, including the Bank of England.But it was time to hand over the baton. I am sure Jo will take the Ambassadors on to new successes."
The Scarborough Business Ambassadors have a database of 500 members and is a not-for-profit limited company. None of the directors are paid and freely give their time, knowledge and skills.
Peter and the group have also organised:
- Michelin Star chef dinners, with the participation of students from Scarborough TEC
- Collaborative engagement, including Scarborough Borough Council, North Yorkshire County
- Council, Anglo American, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough GCHQ, Flamingo Land, NYBEP, Scarborough TEC, CU Scarborough and the University of Hull
- Recruitment events with York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Sponsorship for Scarborough UTC F1 in Schools teams which have reached the world finals twice, including the event at Silverstone in mid-July
- Sourcing personal protection gear and distribution during the covid lockdown
- Support for Guy Waites for his single-handed round-the-world sailing race in September
- Collections for Saint Catherine’s Hospice
Jo paid tribute to Peter's energy and reign. "Peter has created so much activity to benefit Scarborough. The UTC and Science and Engineering Week are just two examples but there is a broader picture - the Ambassadors have attracted regional and national interest thanks to their partnerships.
"I know I am stepping into some rather large shoes and didn’t take on this position lightly, however, I am looking forward to putting my own stamp on things. With the new unitary council and devolution around the corner, it is essential Scarborough has a booming loud voice.
"I will do everything I can to push, pull and shove so that we are appropriately heard.
"We will be continuing with our current themes, covering engineering week, health issues, aspiration, culture and arts and education - while initiating new projects, hosting more business events, dinners and breakfast networking, enabling more business leaders to connect with each other."
Jo added: "After reviewing the current structure and governance, I am now keen to open the group to many other action-orientated business leaders who believe that they could help us with our work.
“We are all volunteers – and all that is required is some time, enthusiasm, an aspirational attitude, and a shared passion for Scarborough.
"I am particularly keen to encourage more young entrepreneurs to our table. We need to continue to future proof ourselves."
Email Jo to learn more about the endeavours of the Ambassadors or to pledge your support, at jo:spectrumcleaningsolutions.co.uk or visit www.scarboroughbusinessambassadors.org