Business Events

Find out about events organised by our Economic Development Team that aim to help local businesses thrive.

Past business events

Guildford Games Festival

Guildford Games Festival

The Guildford games community, supported by Guildford Borough Council, games trade body Ukie, the University of Surrey and Enterprise M3 LEP, attracted over 1,000 visitors to G Live on 28 and 29 June for the inaugural Guildford Games Festival.

The festival celebrated Guildford's talent by revealing the winners of the first Guildford Games Awards

The festival was opened by Anne Milton MP and Councillor Caroline Reeves, leader of Guildford Borough Council, gave a welcome address.

Over 40 industry-led panels and career workshops and more than 50 locally made games from 1987 to the modern day informed and entertained visitors, along with the Belong eSports arena, Club Minecraft and an industry charity fundraiser.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie said "Ukie are delighted that so many people, both locally and internationally, visited and supported the festival. It was particularly great to see so many families, schools, and colleges taking part in the careers sessions, or talking to developers about how games are created, as well as playing games made in Guildford.

"My hope is that some of our festival visitors go on to be the next generation of game makers, and they will be the catalyst for Guildford's next exciting, innovative chapter in its history."

Guildford is home to over 70 video game businesses, employing more than 1,500 people - 10% of the UK's game industry workforce - and is recognised as a UK epicentre for games development, publishing and technology. Key figures from the industry including Peter Molyneux (22 Cans), Sean Murray (Hello Games), and Siobhan Reddy (Media Molecule) were at the festival to demonstrate how, 30 years after the first UK video game studios were established here, Guildford's creative talent is a huge contributor to an $81bn global market. 

The festival organisers would like to thank the following for making the event possible: Guildford Borough Council - University of Surrey - Ukie - Enterprise M3 LEP - Supermassive Games - Wargaming UK - Liquid Crimson - Magic Notion - Etch Play - Ansible Communications - Playsport - Media Molecule - Rocket Lolly - Mojiworks - Polystream - Charles Russell Speechlys - G3 - RSM - nDreams - Rocket Desk



Mental health in the workplace

Promoting good mental health in the workplace was the theme of the Business South HR Event, held for the region's HR professionals and business leaders on 19 June.

According to leading mental health charities, almost one in three people has experienced mental health problems while in employment.

  • Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing an average of £1,035 per employee, per year.

  • 99% of employees calling in sick with stress gave a different reason.

  • 48% said they would not talk to their employer about their mental health.

  • FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee engagement and wellbeing out perform the rest of the FTSE 100 by an average of 10%.

The half-day session included discussions with leading employers on how they are tackling the issues in their workplace.

Speakers included mental health campaigners Jonny Benjamin OBE and Neil Laybourn who work to raise awareness and understanding of mental health with people and businesses in the UK and internationally.

Jonny and Neil's session covered their incredible story, which started with a meeting in 2008 on Waterloo Bridge when Neil spoke to Jonny, stopping Jonny from taking his own life. 

Business South Champions, Guildford Borough Council and Charles Russell Speechlys LLP were headline sponsors for the event.

'Effective planning for business growth' - seminar at Surrey Business Expo

Surrey Business Expo is a show for local companies to showcase their businesses. 

Ian Martin
At the 2019 Expo, we held a seminar with speaker Ian Martin, an Enterprise M3 Growth Hub champion. 

With many years private sector experience, and currently as a business adviser to fast-growth companies in Surrey and Hampshire, Ian highlighted the key factors and top tips in managing and planning for the future growth of your business. His talk covered the need for a business and financial plan, sales and marketing strategy, intellectual property strategy and exit strategy.

Ian has a range of commercial and operational experience, having worked with many businesses and sectors over almost 40 years in the UK and the Far East. He had a successful 25 year corporate career, then became a serial entrepreneur and latterly a consultant, business coach and mentor, running his own consultancy business since 2000, helping to advise, support and grow a wide range of companies. 



Enterprise M3 Brexit Clinic






Brexit Clinic

Guildford Borough Council supported this clinic, which took place on Friday 8 February.

The clinic offered small businesses scenario and risk assessments to help guide them through the challenges that Brexit presents. Topics included:

  • HR and employing EU citizens

  • Customs and tax implications

  • Exporting and importing

  • Regulations and standards

Expert panel

Stuart Chapman, EU Exit Business Readiness and Intelligence Directorate, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Providing the latest state of play in negotiations).

Richard Morley, Grant Thornton (Discussing the four pillars of customs compliance).

Adam Williams, DMH Stallard (Discussing HR and immigration issues around Brexit).

Danny Langley, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Discussing industrial goods regulations and standards).

Ian Martin, Enterprise M3 Growth Hub (Discussing scenario planning and risk assessment around Brexit).

Sarah Butcher, Surrey Chambers of Commerce (event host).

First Steps to Public Speaking

At this event Business South invited public speaking novices in Guildford to find out more about public speaking.

Your presentation may be polished to perfection, your Business Plan is burnished and buffered to the point of brilliance. But what happens next?

The next step is presenting to potential customers, an audience or perhaps to a dragon's den? With those beautifully crafted words counting for just 7% of your message, how can you and your team prepare?

This session looked at building important business skills with the help of guest speaker Ges Ray from Speaking in Public.

The event also provided an opportunity for individuals to meet with similar, like-minded professionals in a structured but friendly and informal environment.

Economic briefing and Council Tax consultation with business for 2019-2020 event

On Thursday 17 January we hosted an economic briefing for local businesses at the Guildford Harbour Hotel.

The event was very well attended and included our budget for 2019-2020 and a Council Tax consultation with business.

Representatives from local businesses and business support organisations were invited to attend.

Speakers at the event included:

  • Claire Morris, Director of Finance, Guildford Borough Council: 'Guildford Borough Council's budget for 2019-2020 and Council Tax consultation with business.'

  • Tim Metson, Coverwood Lakes, Gardens and Farm: 'How to build a successful business in a rural environment.'

  • Mark Berrisford-Smith, Head of Economics for HSBC UK: 'The outlook for the economy and financial markets for 2019.'

Business Breakfast event 2019

From left to right: Cllr Paul Spooner, Mark Berrisford-Smith, Claire Morris, Tim Metson and Chris Burchell.