Starting today at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, the festival will welcome more than 27,000 people and 150 international delegations from markets including the US, China and India. Tony McDonough reports
Prime Minister Theresa May says Liverpool’s third International Business Festival is a “fantastic opportunity” for UK firms to forge new global links as we get set to leave the EU.
The third festival, following those of 2014 and 2016, will run from today (Tuesday) until June 28 and will welcome more than 27,000 people and 150 international delegations from markets including the US, China and India.
Being held at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, the festival has set a target of generating £400m of new business for UK firms. A combined total of £600m was generated from 2014 and 2016 so this would take it past the £1bn barrier.
Its launch coincides with a series of crucial Parliamentary votes on the terms of Brexit, and the Prime Minister said: “I am delighted that we are hosting a festival that will bring together hundreds of investors, innovators and industry leaders from around the world in Liverpool.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for international businesses to connect with their UK counterparts, to increase trade and investment opportunities, and provide companies with a platform to build their global presence.
“We are an open, competitive, trading economy. We are world leaders in science and innovation, global finance, professional services, the creative industries, in autos, aerospace and advanced engineering – and we are one of the best places to start and grow a high-tech business.
“And events such as the International Business Festival have an important role to play in championing and supporting business.”
The festival Weill feature 200 TED-style talks on the Futures Stage, 50 workshops featuring practical advice and expert tips and hundreds of world-leading products, ideas and services showcased in the International Marketplace.
The is also a long list go high-profile speakers and they include Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI; Alex Cruz, chairman and CEO of British Airways; Dr Patrick Vallance, the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Merseyside-born leading lawyer Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Each day of the Festival’s programme will focus on a high-growth sector, from sustainable energy through manufacturing to creative industries.
Topics for discussion on the festival’s main stage include the future world of work, cities in the 21st century, driverless futures, manufacturing in space, the productivity puzzle and culture as a soft power.
The International Business Festival is co-funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as part of its remit to support inclusive economic development and investment in the Liverpool city region.
Festival chairman and chief executive of Liverpool Vision, Max Steinberg, added: “There’s still time to join us in Liverpool. We’ll be welcoming businesspeople from around the world, all looking to share knowledge and build their networks.
“Your next buyer, supplier or investor could well be at the International Business Festival. If you’re in business, it’s an opportunity you really can’t afford to miss.”