Liverpool hosts UK’s first post-COVID business conference

Hundreds of delegates mingled at the Good Business Festival’s Change Business for Good event in Liverpool, without COVID-19 measures in place, as part of a national pilot. Tony McDonough reports

Good Business Festival
Around 270 delegates mingled without restrictions at the Good Business Festival event at ACC Liverpool


Hundreds of delegates attended the UK’s first post-COVID business conference on Wednesday at Liverpool’s waterfront ACC Liverpool complex.

At a launch event for the city region’s Good Business Festival, called Change Business for Good, around 270 people attended the venue without COVID-19 measures in place. The aim is to examine transmission, aerosol and contact risks in a medium-sized indoor venue.

It was held as part of the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) – a science-led initiative to get audiences back safely as restrictions are gradually eased. Liverpool is hosting four separate events as part of the national pilot.

Delegates were required to take a lateral flow test within 24 hours prior to attending and were encouraged to take a free at-home PCR test on the day of the event and another five days afterwards.

Guests heard from a series of speakers including  Denise Barrett Baxendale, chief executive of Everton FC, Wayne Hemingway, founder of Red or Dead and creative director of the Good Business Festival, Liverpool City Council chief executive Tony Reeves and tourism minister Nigel Huddleston.

It closed with a ‘Live at the Apollo’ style comedy show featuring comedians Mick Ferry, Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-Mclean.

Good Business Festival

Good Business Festival
Good Business Festival delegates in the auditorium at ACC Liverpool


Tony Reeves, said: “It’s great to see the collaboration between central government and local government and academia here in Liverpool working together to put on an event that we can use as part of the Government’s Events Research Programme.

“It’s really important stuff and great to see Liverpool once again putting our hand up as a city prepared to take some risks and to be bold and make great things happen.”

Jeremy Schwartz, chairman of Kantar Sustainability Practice and former chief executive of The Body Shop spoke on the Better Business? Better hope so panel, examining whether better business is here to stay or whether the demands to return to some kind of normality will overtake the ambitions for things to be better after COVID.

Faye Dyer, managing director of the ACC Liverpool Group, added: “Change Business for Good felt like a truly pivotal moment as we aim to return to hosting business events as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We were thrilled to be chosen to host the Government’s only business event pilot and to be playing a significant role in this important step towards the reopening of our industry.

“We have all adapted to a new landscape over the past year but nothing can replace face to face meetings so it was wonderful for delegates to be able to interact and attend this milestone conference.”

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