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Doncaster, What's Next Conference?

Wednesday 5th June 2024

Doncaster Whats Next Header 2024

Join us for one of the most inspiring events in Doncaster! Connect with over 200 businesses at The Legacy Centre for a dynamic discussion on the future of Doncaster!

Engage in thought-provoking panels and interactive Q&A sessions, exploring the exciting prospects ahead for our city.

Experience the honesty, openness, and plethora of revolutionary business ideas that emerge from the remarkable projects and opportunities which will be happening right on our doorstep.

Stay tuned for the outcomes and actionable steps derived from these discussions, and dive into the responsible business insights shared by attendees and their visionary perspectives on shaping Doncaster's future!



8am: Breakfast Networking

9am: Introduction from Tariq Shah

Welcome from Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber

Panel: What’s Next: City Centre

Panel: What’s Next: People, Place, Planet

10:45am: Break

What’s Next: Key Doncaster Projects

Keynote Speech: Lord Kirkham CVO, Chairman of DFS & Member of House of Lords

In conversation with Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber & Damian Allen, CEO of Doncaster Council

Summary from Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber

Close from Tariq Shah

12:45pm: Lunch Networking

The Doncaster, What's Next? Business Conference will return on the 5th June 2024. Mark your calendars!

Doncaster, What's Next? Business Conference Host

Tariq Shah

Tariq Shah

Director of Vigo Group

Tariq Shah OBE, a Doncaster native, heads Vigo Group, a thriving family business spanning Yorkshire and London. Renowned for his leadership in community development, he spearheads regeneration projects and champions social causes. Since 2006, Tariq has actively enhanced Doncaster, leading initiatives like the Town Deal Board and supporting the city status bid. Balancing business prowess with social responsibility, he backs charities such as the Prince’s Trust and the Sleep Charity. Recently awarded for his philanthropic efforts in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee honors, Tariq advocates for South Yorkshire's welfare, believing in local engagement to tackle societal issues. Through his endeavors in business and philanthropy, he strives to enact positive change in his community.



What's Next: City Centre


Corinne Mycock

General Manager of Frenchgate




Sarah Wilson

Owner of Gentleman Fishmonger

gentleman fishmonger

Ian Proffitt
Chief Superintendent
Doncaster District Commander

south yorkshire logo
Ros Jones

  Ros Jones CBE

Mayor of Doncaster

Ros Jones has been Mayor of Doncaster since 2013, having been elected for a third term in 2021.
A lifelong Doncaster resident and qualified Chartered Public Finance Accountant, Ros worked in both the public and private sector during her career before being elected as a borough Councillor in 2006, and becoming Chair of Council and Chair of Audit. Ros is currently a member of both the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and is co-chair of the South Yorkshire Business Recovery and Growth board. Since becoming elected Mayor, Ros has led Doncaster Council out of Government intervention early, and introduced wide ranging improvements, including successful policies to support the local economy, job creation, public and private sector housing developments, and education improvements. In 2017 Ros was awarded a CBE for services to Local Government. When standing for re-election in 2021, she pledged to lead Doncaster with its recovery from Coronavirus, to create a safer, stronger, cleaner and greener Doncaster, where no one is left behind. Doncaster is on a journey. Once the home of the Mallard and the Flying Scotsman and the base of the Vulcan bomber, the borough is now the home of Hitachi Rail, fitting our Azuma trains, and to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which is one of the UK’s biggest and best visitor attractions.

Doncaster Council

What's Next: People, Place, Planet

GPE Headshot


Gemma Peebles

Founder and CEO of Harrison College


Gemma Peebles is the founder and CEO of Harrison College. Through her career in education she has worked with young people to achieve their dreams and aspirations. She has always focused on the right person, the right course and the right place. The moto of Harrison College is ‘Your Future, Your Choice’. Gemma and her team encourage all the young people to take ownership of their future and make choices that will start them on their journey. Gemma is also working with the business community both as a patron and non-executive board member of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce to encourage employers to tap into hidden talent, those currently not in work that are neurodiverse. Gemma also sits on the SYSAB and Education Advisory Board for Skills Street.

harrison college
Ed Miliband

MP Ed Miliband

Shadow Secretary of Climate Change and Net Zero of the UK

Ed Miliband is an MP for Doncaster North and Shadow Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero. Ed served as Minister for the Cabinet Office in 2007 and as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2008 to 2010. In this role, Ed oversaw the introduction of the Climate Change Act 2008.

UK Parliament
Michele Beck

Michelle Beck 

CEO at Doncaster Housing for Young People

Michèle, a Doncaster native, has been in the 'not-for-profit' sector since 2017, driven by her passion for community support. With a background in education and mental health, she now aids homeless or inadequately housed youth aged 16-25. Additionally, as the founder of Writing for Wellness CIC, she champions alternative therapies for mental health. In her free time, she leads community Writing for Wellness sessions and actively engages as a football mom and committee member at Sandall Beat Junior Football Club, alongside caring for her 10-year-old son.

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Trudie McCormick

Group Technical Development Director 

Keepmoat Homes

Trudie leads her team in the design of low carbon homes and guidance to promote the principles of ‘Building for a Healthy Life’ in the delivery of sustainable developments.

As a former Eco Homes / Code for Sustainable Homes assessor Trudie has been committed throughout her career to the continued evolution of low carbon and digital design processes embracing the principles of design for manufacture and on-site assembly techniques to improve efficiency, quality, and performance in use with a focus on achieving reduced running and maintenance costs to address fuel poverty.


Amelia Banful

Head of Business Strategy

Amelia is the Head of Business Strategy at Enviro Electronics, an organisation committed to sustainable recycling, and she has led the business to win numerous awards. She has over 20 years experience in project management and has operated in various fields including health and construction. Amelia is also a qualified Change Practitioner and specialises in helping organisations to effectively assess and mitigate against the possible impacts of change.
Outside work, Amelia works with a number of organisations to mentor young people, providing purpose and helping them to become a positive influence in society. She is a member of the Doncaster UTC Employer Advisory Committee and is part of the leadership team for Father's Heart Centre, a church in Birmingham. Amelia is also very passionate about working with women so they feel empowered to achieve their ambitions in life.


What's Next: Key Doncaster Projects

Mike Wilkinson


Mike Wilkinson 

Managing Director of ClickView

Michael is the UK Managing Director of ClickView, an award-winning video platform, trusted by over 6000 schools and colleges..

In 2006, Michael founded i-education, best known as creators of the pioneering games based learning company ‘I am learning’. In the 6 years of running the company, I am learning provided engaging learning and assessment to over 12,000 schools around the world.

In 2012, Frog Education acquired i-education and Michael became Deputy Managing Director of the multi-award winning global educational technology company, transforming learning on a system wide level for over 12 million users across 24 countries.

Since 2014, Michael has been a non-exec director of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, including serving as president 2018-2020. He was also the chair of the British Chamber of Commerce Northern Regional Assembly 2019-2021.

Michael is also a Member of two Multi Academy Trusts, Brighter Futures Learning Partnership and XP Trust.

nick fletcher

MP Nick Fletcher

MP for Don Valley


Nick, a proud Doncaster native, founded his own company after facing redundancy in his early 20s. Committed to his hometown's well-being, he actively promotes #DoncasterFirst and #Doncasterisgreat on social media. Known for his tireless efforts to reopen Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Nick juggles business and political duties, utilising his business acumen in Parliament. He serves on the Education Select Committee and chairs two All Party Parliamentary Groups, advocating for Family Law reform and Men and Boys issues. Notably, he successfully campaigned for the creation of a Minister for Men and Boys and a Men’s Health Ambassador role within the government.

UK Parliament
Mark Headshot

Mark Taylor

CEO of Automated Analytics


Mark Taylor, CEO of Automated Analytics, leads a pioneering British firm that employs AI to revolutionise global businesses. Their technology enables data interpretation, real-time analysis, and optimisation of campaigns, serving over 4,000 clients worldwide since 2013. With extensive experience in senior marketing roles, Mark conceived Automated Analytics during a 2013 conference and actively supports Barnardo's Children's Charity outside of work.

automated analytics
Andy Offer, 2Excel Aviation

Andy Offer

Director and Co-Founder of 2Excel Aviation

Andy Offer, ex-RAF fast jet pilot, co-founded 2Excel Aviation in 2005, pioneering The Blades, the world’s sole aerobatic airline, and launching 2Excel’s air charter services. He now focuses on commercial business development in aviation and aerospace, spanning defense, security, engineering, and disaster response. With 22 years in the RAF, he led a Harrier squadron and piloted the Red Arrows (1999-2001), earning an OBE.


John Clements 
Executive Director of Verdion


In Conversation

dan fell

Dan Fell

CEO of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce

Having been in the organisation for 18 years, Dan Fell became the Chief Executive of Doncaster Chamber in 2015, making him the youngest-ever Chamber CEO at the time.

In the intervening years, he has done a lot of incredible work to help put Doncaster on the map. Among other things, he played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Doncaster UTC, helped get the Great Yorkshire Way built, led the successful bid for Doncaster City Status and has been a prominent voice in the fight to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA). Under his leadership, the chamber even went on to earn the distinction of being named Chamber of the Year in 2019.

In his role, Dan works collegiately with partners, helps to amplify the voice of local firms, and advocates for the growth and development of the local business community, whom he represents on a national stage.

Doncaster Chamber logo

Damian Allen

Chief Executive, Doncaster Council

Damian, Doncaster Council's current CEO, previously held roles as the statutory Chief Officer for Children and Adults. He played a key role in establishing the 'Doncaster Climate Change & Biodiversity Commission' and has been driving regenerative initiatives since 2019. Under his leadership, Doncaster aims to become the UK's inaugural 'Regenerative Council', collaborating with partners such as the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). Damian's diverse background in education management has also seen him advise governments globally on education, youth, and children's services.

Doncaster Council

Keynote Speaker


Lord Kirkham

CVO, Chairman of DFS & Member of House of Lords



Thank you to our hosts, speakers and panel guests.

Mark your calendars for #DWN2024!

Doncaster, What's Next Business Conference will be back on the 5th of June 2024.

“It’s been an absolutely fantastic morning here at Legacy Centre. We are very fortunate to have an […] excellent Chamber that has put on a huge event today.”

Nick Fletcher, MP for Don Valley.

“The highlight for me has to be, being able to sit and listen to Baroness Martha Lane Fox CBE. That opportunity is few and far between. And for her, to take the time out, to speak to the audience in Doncaster I thought was a real privilege.”

Mark Peebles, Chief Commercial Officer at Harrison College.

“It was fantastic! The energy in the room was unbelievable. I think that what I took away [from the event] the most was optimism, collaboration, and just [to be] down to earth and speak to each other to get more business into Doncaster.”

Ian Selby, Head of Sales and Commercial Development at LNER.

“I think the panel with the business directors and CEOs was really interesting, just getting their take because obviously, they’re on the face of what’s going on in Doncaster. So it was really interesting to hear some of their opinions and views on how we can make Doncaster better. And, get more people to invest.”

Di Mellis, Centre Manager at Lakeside Village.

“What makes this conference different is that it focuses very specifically on Doncaster and you get to meet and network with all other local Doncaster businesses which is always a great opportunity to talk about local issues.”

Jim Carley, Managing Director at Carley Consult Ltd.

“I’m really mostly interested in finding out what the plans are for Doncaster and how Doncaster is going to help businesses like mine grow.”

Jon Duffy, CEO of Clean Power Hydrogen.


“What I think is great to see today is the depth of businesses that are coming out. Small through to large. And actually the passion, there’s a real buzz around the conference and the passion to drive the City forward.”

Mark Burley, Regional Social Value and Partnerships Manager at Keepmoat Homes.

“It’s been really good to hear from a wide range of partners, and hear from some new voices and to me, a number of potential partners.”

John Rees, CEO of DN Colleges Group.


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