ONE of the south’s biggest business events will bring together dozens of Hampshire companies tomorrow.

Now in its fourth year, the South Coast Business Works, taking place at the city’s Novotel hotel, will see exhibitors from a variety of industries sharing their knowledge, inspiring others and forging new relationships.

It is organised by the Southern Daily Echo in association with Southampton-based legal firm and principal sponsor Trethowans and founding partners Business South and Destination Southampton to help stimulate business.

The free business-to-business event from 9am to 3pm will be an opportunity for dozens of firms of all sizes and industries to showcase their company to a wide audience. It will also feature free advice clinics and seminars designed to boost Hampshire companies large or small.

Kicking things off at 9am is guest speaker Penny Power, founder of Ecademy, the UK’s first social network for businesses, which she set up in 1998 with husband Thomas.

Penny has just been recognised for her dynamic work with an OBE in the New Year’s Honours. She will be focusing on the digital future and the importance of the digital generation in her keynote speech.

She will be followed by three seminar speakers – Simon Rhodes of Southampton-based event principal sponsors Trethowans Solicitors, Andy Westwood of GuildHE and Ed Morrison, of Purdue University, Indiana, USA. Andy and Ed were brought to the event by Southampton Solent University.

Simon, a managing partner and highly experienced employment lawyer at Trethowans Solicitors will present ‘People, Profit, and Planet’ – a session covering an organisation’s approach to its people, the core things that make an organisation financially successful and why it is important to be ethical.

Andy’s speech ‘Building Higher Level Skills in the Solent Economy’, will look at how universities are becoming key drivers of the economies they serve.

The talk will focus on how universities support skills development and engage in applied research and support entrepreneurship.

Andy is the president of the OECD Forum on Social Innovation and a former special adviser to ministers in the Department for Innovation, Univers-ities and Skills.

Ed will present ‘Re-generating the Space Coast Economy after the NASA Shuttle Programme’. The speech will focus on the challenges faced by civic leaders on the Space Coast of Florida after the shutdown of the NASA shuttle programme, and how lessons learned can be applied to the south coast region.

A Question Time-style business panel, hosted by Lee Peck of Leepeckgroup, will feature Stewart Dunn, incoming CEO at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, John Eynon, of Import Services, Trethowans’ Simon Rhodes, Nick Ridehalgh, of Associated British Ports Southampton, and Trevor Thorne of Southampton Solent University.

There will be free one-to-one advice clinics from Trethowans Solicitors, Santander, the Daily Echo and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.

Visitors should register to attend this free event by visiting