The first Digital Solent Conference on the Isle of Wight is happening today (Wednesday).

The Isle of Wight Council-organised event at Cowes Yacht Haven includes a full line up of internationally renowned digital economy experts from the United States and UK, including Andy Stanford-Clark from IBM and the University of Maryland’s Jeffrey Starr.

Even Sir Richard Branson has been expressing his support for the event:

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In a recorded video to launch the free conference, Sir Richard called The Isle of Wight and Solent area ‘one of the leading global edge digital locations for both established and start-up businesses’ and a location ‘with the space to think and to breathe’.

The Isle of Wight Council-organised event is hosting a full line up of internationally renowned digital economy experts from the United States and UK, including Andy Stanford-Clark from IBM and the University of Maryland’s Jeffrey Starr.

Delegates will compete in a ‘Hackathon’ style IOW Digital Innovation Challenge using technology to explore and transform ideas into reality. There will also be networking opportunities, an exhibition, workshops and talks on digital business needs in relation to the Island’s regeneration plans.

Councillor Wayne Whittle, Council Cabinet member for regeneration and business development says it’s great for the Island:

“This conference is showing the world our ambition and our intent to bring even more companies and the most highly skilled jobs to our Island’s economy.

“This is not just talk either. There is plenty to back the Island up as an ideal location to run an international business from – starting with its 99.4 per cent superfast broadband coverage, plus an existing skilled and dedicated workforce, and extraordinary lifestyle opportunities.

“Many businesses have already come and more will follow, but we need to make sure we continue to bang the drum for our Island in this vital area. This exciting conference, which we promised we would set up, will do just that and I’m very much looking forward to being there and learning a great deal.”

The event is supported by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

More on what Richard Branson has to say about the conference, along with further details can be found via www.iwightinvest.com/digital-solent-conference/.

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