International entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson will be the featured speaker at the fifth annual Surrey Regional Economic Summit, which is set for Oct. 4.
This year's summit will highlight changes in the world's economies, and the important of innovations and leadership in attracting business and investment, a press release stated.
Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and is the only person to ever create eight separate billion-dollar companies, each in a different sector. Today, there are more than 400 Virgin companies in more than 30 countries.
Branson, whose Virgin Atlantic Airways begins scheduled service between Vancouver and London later this month, said the Surrey summit will be a chance for him to share his perspective on the importance of innovation and creativity as the world's economy comes out from under the international downturn.
Mayor Dianne Watts said the summit is about hearing different voices and learning from speakers and panelists.
"Sir Richard Branson has been a transformational leader in the international business community and someone who has turned incredible challenges into opportunities that have changed people's lives and the way we live," Watts said. "He has an important perspective on how to build businesses that make a real difference in the communities in which they operate." In addition to Branson's keynote presentation, the one-day Surrey summit will include two sessions on economics and politics. The first is titled "America, Europe and Asia: Choices and Challenges on the
Road to Recovery." The event will also feature a special political panel called "Voting on the Future: The Domestic and International Impact of the American Presidential Election," with participating commentators to be named later this month.
"The Surrey Summit has grown to become the most significant business and economic conference of its kind in Canada," noted Coun. Linda Hepner, chair of the summit. "It's a forum for leaders in both government and the private sector to come together to hear fresh thinking and new ideas about the challenges and choices facing our region and the world."
Over the past four years, the Surrey summit has attracted a variety of international speakers and presenters, including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Rudy Giuliani and Steve Forbes, as well as business and economic commentators from Canada, the United States, Asia and Britain.
Registration for the 2012 Surrey Regional Economic Summit will begin once the conference program has been finalized.