New Anglia LEP: Go Ape! boss to add touch of adventure to conference

THE head of East Anglia-based hire-wire activity company Go Ape! will be bringing a touch of adventure to a major regional business event next week.

Jerome Mayhew, managing director of the company which opened its first tree-top adventure centre in Thetford Forest in 2002 and now has 27 courses across the country, will be among the speakers at Open for Business, being held at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday, September 15.

The event is the first major gathering for the region’s businesses organised by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), a private sector-led initiative created drive growth and job creation across Suffolk and Norfolk.

Around 250 delegates are expected to attend the event which represents an opportunity for the region’s businesses to hear about the partnership’s plans and objectives, with the agenda also including a keynote address from New Anglia chairman Andy Wood.

Go Ape!, which has also opened its first centre in the Unite States, was named Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year in the 2009 National Business Awards and was included in this year’s edition of The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For.

It has adopted a vision statement of “Creating adventure; encouraging others to live life adventurously”, and aims to provide “an eco-educational experience” which takes into account the long-term health of the forests in which it operates and gives participants a life-broadening insight into risk management while enjoying the thrill of high-wire activity.

Jerome Mayhew worked for 10 years as a barrister, specialising in personal injury litigation, before joining Go Ape! in 2006 as director of business development and risk, and he become managing director in 2009.

Most Read

He said the Open for Business event represented a chance for business leaders to learn from each other as well as to hear about the LEP’s plans for driving forward the region’s economy.

“For many businesses these are tough times and it is important that we do all we can to maintain and grow our business strength,” said Mr Mayhew. “This event is a great opportunity to come together as a business community to be inspired and to see what we can learn from each other.

“I am going to talk about some of the lessons I learned at Go Ape as we grew from start-up to a strong business and I am hoping to pick up good tips from the other businesses attending,” he added.

The Open for Business event is being sponsored by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers and law firm Birketss LLP.

The New Anglia LEP board, which is private sector-led but also includes representatives from local authorities, has identified engineering and tourism as two of its priorities.

It scored an early success last month when the Government approved a bid submitted by the partnership to establish Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft as an Enterprise Zone.

And last week saw the launch of Visit East Anglia, a new private sector-led body which will drive promotion of the �4billion-a-year tourist industry across Suffolk and Norfolk.