The conference heard from two inspirational businessmen, who both fought hard to see their firms get off the ground.
The first was Iain Morgan, chief executive of Bladez Toyz, which began as a series of market stalls around the south.
He began by manufacturing and selling remote-controlled helicopters and then motorised inflatable toys such as R2-D2, Dave Minion from Despicable Me; and Lightning McQueen from Carz.
The conference heard that Bladez Toys, based at the Technopole in Portsmouth, exports around Europe and is now in talks to expand into Russia.
Mr Morgan gave advice to the conference, saying: ‘Number one is resilience. Never, ever give in. Look at problems as lessons and learn from them. Don’t let obstacles get like funding stop you. Commit to things and you will, or you will have to, make them happen. Build a strong team and trust them. Dare to dream and dream big and most of all have fun in what you’re doing.’
The second businessman was Andrew Gadsden, owner of All About Tea, who spoke about opening his tea merchant business just months before the credit crunch hit.
He urged companies to work together both professionally and as customers to give mutual support and ensure the city thrives economically.
He added: ‘Let’s not just shape the future, let’s get our hands dirty to make the future.’