A CONTESTANT from hit TV show The Apprentice will be a key speaker at a business conference in Ilkley.

Ruth Whiteley will give an inspirational talk at the Thrive Yorkshire event at the Kings Hall and Winter Gardens on Thursday, September 14.

Ruth, the Director of Impact Sales and a contestant on series 11 of the BBC1 show, will be joined by other speakers including Ilkley entrepreneur Gavin Patterson and Bradford Council Chief Executive Kersten England.

The conference, whose main sponsor is Ilkley Business Forum (IBF), aims to share tips, strategies and ideas to help small to medium enterprises successfully expand.

Thrive Yorkshire committee member Becky Leach said: "On this ten year anniversary of the credit crunch it is a stark reminder that anything can happen in business that can rock your financial stability.

"Thrive is now in its fourth year of giving fantastic advice and opportunities to allow every business – whether it be online, business to business, or the high street, to grow to its full desired potential and deal with any difficulties."

Other speakers on the day will include William Rogers, the Chief Executive Officer of award-winning commercial radio group UKRD, and young entrepreneur Joe Shrimpton, who has launched his Extreme Lounging business at the age of 24.

Several workshops will also be held, including ones tailored to help firms harness the power of social media.

Becky added: "Ilkley is a success story, businesses here have emerged fighting from the fears of a potential economic disaster.

“Thrive can give businesses the tools to cope with difficulties that are thrown their way.

“But we want to send the message out that all businesses across Yorkshire are welcome to come along and tap into Ilkley’s success.

"We also want other businesses to know that Ilkley is open for business, andnew businesses are welcome with open arms."

Tickets cost £25 for non IBF members and £15 for members, and are available through Eventbrite.

They include access to exhibitors, all speakers and workshops, lunch and refreshments.