Business network to promote green enterprise and growth

A business network is being set up across the South West to champion and promote green enterprise and growth.

A conference hosted by the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), One Health 2023 brought around 100 experts and senior decision makers to Kingston Maurward College near Dorchester to share advice and insight on sustainability and shared environment.

They included business leaders, scientists, policymakers and investors keen to support innovative solutions to challenges prompted by climate change, pollution and disease.

Dorset LEP’s chair Cecilia Bufton told the conference that the One Health Enterprise Network (OHEN) will aim to help companies and organisations in all disciplines touching on human, animal, plant or environmental health.

She said: “Through the power of collective action, the OHEN partnership will leverage investments in One Health technologies across multiple applications, enabling business innovators to strengthen their prospects of financial returns by developing resilient, sustainable solutions.

“OHEN will facilitate connections for mutually beneficial collaboration with fellow businesses, universities, government, centres of excellence, voluntary agencies and funders.

“The ultimate aim is to accelerate the design, development and deployment of products and solutions that improve lives through better public and environmental health outcomes.

“Engaging the passion, dedication and skills of those already on this journey in a collaborative approach with those yet to join the network will be the key to our success.”

Presentations and panel sessions at the conference considered One Health challenges such as disaster preparedness, antimicrobial resistance, natural capital and how to age well.

Speakers discussed how One Health approaches can support agriculture and food production security through improved methods of animal, plant and soil management.

And opportunities opened up through AI to assess the baseline health and biodiversity of land and seascapes were also highlighted.

Participants highlighted the value of the face-to-face nature of the event and the scope it afforded to discuss potential collaborations.

Mark Burnett, director of the Seiche Water Technology Group whose UK office is in Holsworthy, Devon, said: “Conversations took place between people from different sectors keen to network and see where opportunities for collaboration might lie.”

Maria Clarke, Dorset Local Nature Partnership Manager, said: “The conference was an ideal opportunity to engage with partners and stakeholders who aren’t necessarily your usual go-to people, so you could really find out what else might help the work you are doing.”

Organiser Kevin Brooks said: “The conference was a step change in the development of the One Health Enterprise Network.

“There were so many talented and interested people in the room who have asked us to go on to develop a sustainable network for the creation of clean growth products and solutions that can meet wicked One Health challenges.”

Delegates agreed that a steering group will be formed in autumn 2023 to progress OHEN.

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