New ‘ethical’ business festival cut from three weeks to three days

Liverpool’s previous international business festivals in 2014, 2016 and 2018 attracted tens of thousands of people from across the world and the event is now undergoing a radical change. Tony McDonough reports

Good Business Festival
Steve Rotheram, Claire McColgan and Wayne Hemingway


Liverpool city region’s fourth international business festival will go ahead in October 2020 but will be radically different from the first three and will focus heavily on ethical business.

Cut down from three weeks to just three days, the Good Business Festival will take place in October 2020 at multiple venues across the city region.

Inspired by a reported written by Lord Heseltine and Sir Terry Leahy, the first International Festival for Business took place over six weeks in 2014, centred around Mann Island.

A slimmed down three-week festival moved to Exhibition Centre Liverpool in 2016 and occupied the same venue again in 2018 when its name was changed to the International Business Festival. All three events were organised by the now defunct Liverpool Vision and masterminded by Max Steinberg.

Although those three events were judged to be successful with hundreds of millions of pounds in new business generated, many in the city region felt disconnected from an event that was aimed primarily at overseas visitors or from elsewhere in the UK.


Now under the control of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, the next festival will be a multi-venue event focused on showcasing, promoting and encouraging ethical business, and aims to attract household names from across the world to Merseyside.

With the lead message that ‘Profit comes from Purpose’, the festival aims to help businesses thrive while operating ethically and responsibly, in a way that benefits the community.

Commissioned by the Combined Authority, the festival will be delivered via a collaboration between Hemingway Design, the design company headed by Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway, and Culture Liverpool. Mr Hemingway has been a strong supporter of the previous festivals.

Carolyn Fairbairn
Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, speaks at the festival in 2018. Picture by Tony McDonough


Inclusive growth

Mr Rotheram said: “In the Liverpool city region we’re looking to build the UK’s fairest, most inclusive local economy, with a particular focus on inclusive growth and community wealth building. That means ensuring that local communities really feel the benefit from investment, with good-quality jobs and fair wages.

“We’re doing things differently, and the Good Business Festival is a fantastic way to showcase our region as a radical leader for ethical, values-driven businesses.”

Culture Liverpool director Claire McColgan added: “We know that Liverpool is a stage for major events and that it comes into its own when we turn the city inside out and totally rethink how to deliver a project.

“What is so exciting about The Good Business Festival is the chance to not only develop a unique offer for the city centre but to work on creating relevant and influential events across the city region, bringing together some of the world class industries we boast and shining a light on some of the incredible locations.”

Click here to find out more about the Good Business Festival

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