On 17 February, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) hosted events with celebrity chief executives: Lord Deighton KBE, formerly of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Paul Polman of Unilever.
Holding two major functions on the same day is testament not only to the quality and vibrancy of our events programme, but also to the slick efficiency of the BCCJ’s secretariat.
These organisational skills were again tested on 15 October when members and guests were treated to an energising and hugely entertaining event with Mayor of London Boris Johnson, followed by our second Community Hub night, powered by PechaKucha. The latter provided six non-profit organisations with an opportunity to showcase their work in a wide variety of sectors.
UK rises in prosperity ranking
The mayor’s comments on the appeal of London as an investment destination are supported by a new report by international public policy think-tank and charity, the Legatum Institute, which cites the UK as the third-cheapest place in the world to start a business, for about £66 (some ¥12,000).
According to the study, low start-up costs and a favourable climate for entrepreneurs have made the UK the best place in the European Union to launch a firm.
The UK is ranked 15th in Legatum’s global prosperity index-ahead of Japan in 19th place. The index, which measures prosperity based on scores for income and wellbeing, shows that much work is still to be done. But the UK’s future looks bright, with a stronger, more entrepreneurial, and more innovative economy, as well as an optimistic population.
At the time of writing, the BCCJ Executive Committee (Excom) and secretariat are focused on finalising arrangements for the 2015 British Business Awards (BBA). Simultaneously, we concluded our pre-BBA event programme with two keynote speakers.
First, Lord Patten CH, former UK Cabinet minister and Governor of Hong Kong, provided us with his assessment of the world’s geo-political challenges. The breadth of his narrative, peppered with historical and literary anecdotes, and the candour of his responses to questions made this a particularly memorable event for BCCJ attendees.
Second, we were fortunate to host a roundtable discussion with Ian Davis, chairman of BCCJ member firm Rolls-Royce and former worldwide managing director of McKinsey & Company.
Thanks to the hard work of the BCCJ secretariat and Excom events task force, the programme for members in the first half of the chamber year has been outstanding. As ever, I urge all members to participate. It is, after all, your contribution that has the power to turn these events into a vibrant platform for UK–Japan business exchange.