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After over a year and a half of virtual events, on Wednesday 24 November PICTFOR was able to host its Annual Dinner in the House of Lords.

As one of the largest and most prestigious events within the PICTFOR calendar, our 2021 Annual Dinner brought together parliamentarians from both houses and all parties, senior industry representatives from our membership and beyond.

We were delighted to be joined by parliamentarians and industry members to celebrate the continued relationship, collaboration and cooperation of the tech sector and Westminster, acknowledge the resilience of the tech sector over the last year, and highlight the incredible response to the challenges of the pandemic from PICTFOR members and the wider tech community.

The dinner focused on Digital Skills, in partnership with our Co-Sponsors, BT and Google and was hosted by PICTFOR Treasurer Lord McNally who made opening remarks and introduced our speakers. Both organisations are committed to helping small businesses across the UK get better positioned for growth by addressing the digital skills shortage.

Chris Simms, BT’s MD for SoHo spoke at the event and highlighted that since the launch of BT Skills for Tomorrow in 2019, BT has now helped more than 10 million people across the UK and has delivered free digital skills training to almost 300,000 UK small business owners and their employees. BT’s training has been supported by webinars from Google Digital Garage, putting Google on course to achieve its target of enabling one million small British businesses remain open by helping them to be found online.

We also heard from David Black, Senior Director, Google UK who added on top of this, that Google has exceeded its target of helping train 100,000 UK SMBs. In total, over 700,000 business owners have been trained through the Google Digital Garage programme.

The event also sought to explore the challenges facing small businesses and how one-to-one mentoring can help them to adapt and grow, in collaboration with BT and Google’s ‘Get Mentored, Get Growing’ partnership which provides free one-to-one mentoring sessions for UK small businesses and charities covering a range of topics including digital marketing, e-commerce and business strategy.

We were delighted to be joined by three small businesses who had benefitted first-hand from BT and Google’s mentoring partnership – Sleepgoddess, The Bead Shop and Drums and Flats.

PICTFOR would like to thank the event’s co-hosts BT and Google, as well as our Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial speakers and our event Chair and PICTFOR Treasurer, Lord McNally.

During the dinner we heard from the following speakers:

  • Minister for Technology and the Digital Economy, Chris Philp MP
  • Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Bridget Phillipson MP
  • BT’s MD for SoHo (Single/Small Office, Home Office), Chris Sims
  • Senior Director, Google UK, David Black

If you would like further information on this topic or about PICTFOR’s programme of events, please get in touch!

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