THE FIFTIETH anniversary of Southampton’s city status will be the inspiration for the Daily Echo’s South Coast Business Works exhibition.

Organisers hope the free exhibition at the city’s Novotel hotel on Tuesday, February 4, will develop new ideas and pledges to improve the city and increase its business potential.

Captains of industry from across the south including some of the region’s most inspirational businessmen and women will be speaking at the event, sponsored by Trethowans Solicitors imparting their words of wisdom.

The prestigious business-to-business event will see exhibitors and delegates gather to share their knowledge and forge new business relationships.

Kicking off at 9am, Penny Power, internet entrepreneur and founder of online UK business social network, Ecadamy, will be the guest speaker at the event delivering her keynote speech which will focus on digital skills and economic growth.

Simon Rhodes, managing partner of sponsors Trethowans Solicitors, will present a session covering an organisation’s approach to its people, the core things that make an organisation financially successful and the importance of ethics at 10am.

Other speakers include Andy Westwood of higher education representative organisation GuildHE, who will present his seminar session – Building Skills and Local Economies – at 11am.

This will be followed at noon by Ed Morrison of Purdue University, Washington DC, who will speak about the effect that the closure of NASA’s space shuttle programme has had on the Florida economy and how business leaders can learn from the experience.

At 1pm Lee Peck of advertising agency LeePeckGroup will chair a Question Time Business Panel to discuss the key issues affecting today's business community.

Visitors must register for the exhibition and seminar speakers and can submit questions for the panel at