Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Tonight's the Night - Holway's biggie speech for the Prince's Trust

After all the planning, all the invitations, all the speech writing - tonight's the night for my biggie ICT Leaders speech for the Prince's Trust.

I've given my annual "State of the ICT Nation" speeches since 1988 (when I carried the 35mm slide deck and my projector up on the train). Every year the attendances got bigger and bigger. I think we had over 400 attendees in 1999. Soon after I decided to split it into an 'all-comers' event and a 'by invite only'. In 2001 I held my first ICT Leaders dinner at Mossimans when the guest list of ICT CEOs was a Who's Who of the industry.

After I helped to found the Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group in 2002, I did these speeches to raise funds and awareness for them. The first was in Nov 2002 at Bloomberg and was perhaps my most "famous". 'IT's all over now?' was all about maturity of the sector and the forecast that growth rates would never again be in double figures and would be lucky to keep pace with GDP. Although much criticised at the time, it has come to pass and I don't know anybody who would take me on against that premise anymore.

I also moved my ICT Leaders Dinner to be on behalf of the Prince's Trust in 2005 when it was sponsored by BT - as it has been ever since. The series of Holway dinners and events since 2002 have raised around £600,000 to help the Prince's Trust help disadvantaged young people in the UK. On top of that many of the attendees at these dinners have become members or patrons of the Prince's Trust; helping the Technology Leaders Group to raise £5m in the last 5 years.

Tonight's event atop BT Tower is another sell out at £1250 per ticket. Everyone who is anybody in the UK ICT scene will be there.

A BIG THANKYOU to everyone who has helped to make it such a great success.

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