Former deputy prime minister, Lord John Prescott, was the headline speaker at the first Scarborough and Coast Business Day, held on Friday.
Organised by the University of Hull, the inaugural event was held at Scarborough Spa with the aim of bringing the business community together to look at the challenges.
Lord Prescott was one of 14 speakers on the day, and is well known for his outspoken views on a range of issues.
As well as the keynote speakers, there were sessions throughout the day looking at supporting the health and wellbeing of employees, exploiting digital marketing trends and using data to improve businesses.
The event was held in conjunction with the Scarborough Business Awards, which took place at the Spa on Friday evening.
James Farrar, chief operating officer of York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, spotlighted the achievements of the Scarborough business world in a speech about Building a Rural & Coastal Powerhouse.
At the event organised by the University of Hull, he said: "Everything we do is about enabling growth, in terms of workforce, capacity and reliability, skills and jobs.
"Among the business community in this area in particular, the leadership of the Scarborough Business Ambassadors, with support from the councils, has been outstanding.
"When Scarborough won the Most enterprising place in Europe accolade (2009), it wasn't just an award. It was a statement of ambition, and it has been backed up and led by business.
"Look at the Woodend creative centre, the Scarborough GCHQ base, the potash project of Sirius Minerals, the creation of the University Technical College, the Scarborough Science & Engineering Week, the construction skills village, it's been a constant flow.
"It's what makes a great place - ambitious business, inspired people, great connectivity, quality of life.
"Scarborough has many successes, the Ambassadors lead the way with commitment and leadership. The country is welcoming and copying the example Scarborough is setting. Led by you backed by us, what a great example of industry addressing its challenges.
"There's also the sports village, the new waterpark and plans for Olympic-standard athletics."
He added: "There is also a generation of deprivation; we need to address this. We are committed to helping this and we can help you."