As the tenth-anniversary Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards draw closer, Cllr Robin Bradburn, Deputy Council Leader on Milton Keynes City Council discusses the council’s continued support for the event, being held this year on March 21 at Stadium MK, over the last decade.
Milton Keynes City Council has been a headline sponsor of the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards since the awards were first launched 10 years ago, why is it so important to keep supporting the event?
As the most exclusive business event of the year, the MKBAAs are an opportunity to celebrate and recognise local businesses’ remarkable achievements and successes.
Not only do the awards off er a platform for businesses to establish valuable connections, build partnerships, and exchange ideas, they play a crucial role in strengthening the business community and contributing to the overall growth and success of the city.
This year’s theme for MKBAA is ‘Forever Innovative – Milton Keynes Leading The UK’s High-Tech Future’ – how does this resonate with the council?
The City Council is ambitious for Milton Keynes, we pride ourselves on being modern and forward thinking in our approach, consistently embracing change and innovative ideas as the city continues to grow and transform.
Economic development has always been a key focus and over the last few years we have provided millions in financial support to local businesses to encourage growth and entrepreneurship.
We think Milton Keynes is the best place in the UK to start a business, and to maintain the city’s reputation as a leading centre for technology and innovation we have collaborated with local partners to create additional schemes to boost the city’s growing tech sector to ensure tech talent stays within Milton Keynes.
Over the last few years, the council has embraced a number of technological projects to benefit the city, can you provide more details on this and explain what you are most proud of?
Not only is Milton Keynes the home of innovation, but it is also a world-renowned smart city.
Over the last few years, the city’s passion for tech has grown, we have welcomed businesses from all over the world to trial their pioneering technologies here in Milton Keynes, and we are most proud of the reputation our city now upholds as a real-life testbed. From driverless vehicles to Starship Robots, to electric autonomous taxi trials, we have led the way in trialling the next generation of transport and connectivity. Last year, we hosted the European Smart City Robotics Competition for the second time, welcoming teams of researchers and engineers to compete live at centre:mk.
Milton Keynes’ unique urban design is the main reason why these trials have taken place in the city, proving Milton Keynes is Better by Design.
2024 is on track to be another successful year, with more exciting opportunities on the horizon, work is under way on urban drone deliveries, and driverless shuttles are due to run trials in the city centre.
AI is a hot topic at the moment, how do you see the city benefiting from this technology over the coming years?
Last year, Milton Keynes welcomed world leaders, leading tech companies and researchers to the home of the codebreakers – Bletchley Park – for the AI Safety Summit.
The first-ever multinational agreement on the future of AI was signed in our city, that in itself was a momentous occasion, and proves Milton Keynes already has a place at the forefront of global growth in emerging technologies and AI.
Noticeably, AI and data science is a common thread at the core of many of Milton Keynes’ anchor tech businesses, already showing a great level of expertise in AI across the city. From employers such as Aiimi (which is also a sponsor of this year’s awards), to institutions like Santander UK, which is exploring what AI can do for its business.
And yet, even before AI became the hot topic it is today, Milton Keynes was already being identified as a UK city with a clear scope to become a ‘global destination for future waves of innovation-led growth in the application in AI’.
Our city has a bright future ahead, I am looking forward to seeing how more businesses across the city share ideas and best practice to use new technology in the most efficient way.
Milton Keynes has always attracted new business; how can the city evolve to become a hotbed for new tech companies over the next 20 years?
Already, Milton Keynes is one of the biggest city economies in the country, thanks to the successful businesses that call our city home. The City Council is committed to supporting tech businesses to ensure Milton Keynes continues to attract even more cutting-edge companies, so that our tech ecosystem continues to grow.
Last year, in partnership with Protospace, we listened to the city’s leading tech anchor employers, educators, entrepreneurs and investors about what the city needs to develop its ever-growing tech success. I would encourage any business with an interest in tech to help us be part of making this work a success.
What are you looking forward to most about the awards this year?
We are very fortunate to have such a strong and resilient business community in Milton Keynes. With more than a dozen awards to be won, I am especially excited to learn more about the new and up-and-coming businesses in the city.
Aside from shining a light on promising and developing businesses, it’s always a great pleasure welcoming back companies that attended last year to find out what they have been working on and how they have grown and evolved throughout 2023.
Entries for MKBAA 2024 are now closed. Tables sales for the awards ceremony on March 21 are still open; to book, go to www.mkbaa.co.uk. There are also a limited number of sponsorship opportunities available, for details contact firstname.lastname@example.org