Organisers of the International Business Festival have announced their bold ambition for the 2018 edition of the event: to drive the total value of trade and investment enabled by the event since 2014 to £1bn.
The aspiration was announced as details were unveiled of the 2018 festival which will take place next June, with Brexit talks in full swing and international trade at the forefront of national debate.
Held over three weeks at the 80,000 square foot Exhibition Centre Liverpool, the event aims to attract small and medium sized businesses – from across the Liverpool City Region and beyond – who are looking to grow and explore export opportunities.
Organisers aim to build on the success of last year’s event, which attracted buyers and investors from 98 countries around the world and saw 500 UK companies secure exports of more than £87m.
Research also revealed that around third of Festival delegates in 2016 had been actively encouraged by the event to begin exporting, or to explore opportunities in new overseas markets.
For 2018, the International Business Festival will focus on nine core sectors which will drive the economy of the future – from health and life sciences to sustainable energy to creative industries – with specially curated theme days dedicated to each one.
Following the success of the 2014 and 2016 events, organisers are promising to deliver yet another an inspiring and engaging programme of expert panels, practical workshops and high-profile keynote addresses.
For 2018 a greater number of businesses will also be able to take space on the Festival floor, exhibiting their products and services to Festival delegates in an expanded international marketplace alongside pavilions from countries, regions and cities with firm agreements from locations in India, China and mainland Europe.
Business people have testified to the export gains achieved by attending the Festival in 2016:
Brian Wilkins of Knowsley-based security blind manufacturers Abbey Group said:“In the 12 months since we took part in the Festival we have significantly advanced our global profile – working towards high-value deals with prospective buyers in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. As a direct result of connections made at the 2016 event, we are now planning to expand our business and hire additional staff.”
International Business Festival organisers highlighted the success of the festival and the advantage to local firms of getting involved in 2018:
Max Steinberg, Festival Chair said:“With its vibrant entrepreneurial culture and historic standing as a gateway to the world, Liverpool is the natural home for the International Business Festival. The event consistently delivers enormous benefit to the city region. To date the International Business festival has delivered £600m of additional trade and investment to the UK economy, a good proportion of that within Merseyside. It’s our ambition that for our third festival we push the total value of deals done to £1bn. My message to companies is clear: whether you’re based in Bangalore or Birkenhead, if you want to be part of with the Festival then let’s do business.”
The International Business Festival will be held between 12-28 June 2018.