10:14AM, Monday 06 March 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May has called on Maidenhead businesses to play their part in building a new strong post-Brexit economy.
Speaking at the Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce gala dinner on Saturday night, Mrs May urged businesses to develop the skills and services the country would need once outside the EU.
She said: "This is an important moment for us as we look ahead to leaving the European Union and forging a new future for this country, a future in which everyone should be involved.
"I want everybody across the whole of the UK to be thinking about what society, what country and what economy we can be for the future.
"Maidenhead Chamber of Commerce has its role to play in doing that. Around this room and in the chamber are a lot of people who are successful, who are bright, who innovate and think about the future."
The business community, she told the audience at the Chartered Institute of Marketing at Moor Hall, Cookham, should think about what opportunities there were both to export goods and services and encourage investment into Maidenhead and the UK.
She added: "Think about the future not just of Maidenhead and the future of your businesses but think about the contribution you can make to the future of this country."
The Prime Minister was picking up on comments made earlier by chamber president Olu Odeniyi who said businesses needed to develop new skills to remain competitive in the changing world economy.
He said the chamber had to be relevant and engage with businesses in a time of uncertainty over Brexit.
In the last year, he said, it had hosted a series of events to help firms develop digital skills and learn about the opportunities presented by Crossrail and the proposed western rail link to Heathrow, which would place the airport just 14 minutes away from Maidenhead by train.
"We will continue such events to help businesses make decisions and to show the importance of embracing digital transformation and understanding how we change our businesses. This will be vital in remaining competitive in the future."
The annual dinner is a highlight of the chamber calendar and this year provided the opportunity to also celebrate the 50th anniversary of school uniform and sports kit business Goyals, which was the event's main sponsor.
The Prime Minister joined Seema Goyal, who now runs the business founded by her in-laws, to cut a birthday cake.
Thanking Goyals for its sponsorship, Mr Odeniyi praised the businesses' contribution to Maidenhead over the last 50 years, describing Mrs Goyal as a 'remarkable lady and a true model for the business community'.
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