Liverpool ready to welcome the world at the International Festival for Business

More than 100 delegations including more than 600 businesses from 80 countries will arrive in June for IFB2016

For three weeks in June Liverpool will have the whole world in its hands when the second International Festival for Business (IFB2016) gets under way.

IFB2016 chair, Max Steinberg and his team have been “burning the midnight oil” in preparation for visitors descending on the city from other parts of the UK and across the world.

IFB2016 in numbers

Starting on June 13 and based at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, IFB2016 is expected to welcome more than 100 delegations from 36 different countries, with countries such as China, India and the US having a significant presence.

Those delegations will contain representatives from more than 600 businesses, many of whom will be looking to strike deals with UK firms.

More than 27,000 people, in Merseyside, the UK and from around 80 countries across the world have registered for the free IFB Business Club.

The first IFB, in 2014, generated more than £200m in extra business for UK companies and led to the creation of around 7,500 jobs.

Opportunities for Merseyside firms and those across the UK

Mr Steinberg, says this time the aim is to at least match and hopefully exceed those figures.

In an interview with the ECHO he said: “The team here are working extremely hard as the start of the festival approaches – there has been lots of burning the midnight oil.”

Mr Steinberg was also chair of IFB2014 and said lessons were learned during that event. Despite how well received the festival there was a unanimous feeling from both organisers and attendees that it was too long and so this year’s festival is much leaner.

This time around there will be 80 core events and conferences. But added to that there will a number of free events that members of the Business Club can attend.

More than 100 delegations including more than 600 businesses from 80 countries will arrive in June for IFB2016.

For three weeks in June Liverpool will have the whole world in its hands when the second International Festival for Business (IFB2016) gets under way.

IFB2016 chair, Max Steinberg and his team have been “burning the midnight oil” in preparation for visitors descending on the city from other parts of the UK and across the world.
IFB2016 in numbers

Starting on June 13 and based at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, IFB2016 is expected to welcome more than 100 delegations from 36 different countries, with countries such as China, India and the US having a significant presence.

Those delegations will contain representatives from more than 600 businesses, many of whom will be looking to strike deals with UK firms.

More than 27,000 people, in Merseyside, the UK and from around 80 countries across the world have registered for the free IFB Business Club.

The first IFB, in 2014, generated more than £200m in extra business for UK companies and led to the creation of around 7,500 jobs.
Opportunities for Merseyside firms and those across the UK

Mr Steinberg, says this time the aim is to at least match and hopefully exceed those figures.

In an interview with the ECHO he said: “The team here are working extremely hard as the start of the festival approaches – there has been lots of burning the midnight oil.”

Mr Steinberg was also chair of IFB2014 and said lessons were learned during that event. Despite how well received the festival there was a unanimous feeling from both organisers and attendees that it was too long and so this year’s festival is much leaner.

This time around there will be 80 core events and conferences. But added to that there will a number of free events that members of the Business Club can attend.

In particular, the Blue Skies sessions that will feature high-profile speakers including former South African president, FW de Klerk and WPP founder, Sir Martin Sorrell.

“This is not a Liverpool festival – it is a UK festival – but it is taking place here and we fully intend to maximise the opportunity for Liverpool city region firms to meet potential investors.

“Every day there will be tours going out to visit companies across the city region.

“There has been a huge demand for places on those tours already and we are looking at putting on more of them.”
Investors looking to splash the cash

At a breakfast event at Exhibition Centre Liverpool a few weeks ago, Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Investment, Gary Millar said that delegations from China were coming to IFB2016 with “up to £500bn” to invest in the UK.

Mr Steinberg backed this claim up stating that those business people coming from the Far East were coming to Liverpool fully intending to strike deals.

He added: “They are coming here looking to do business and they do have significant amounts of money to spend.

“Delegations are coming from many different countries – from China and the US to Afghanistan and Malaysia.

“Having all these people here under one roof is fantastic for UK businesses and for those in the Liverpool city region.

“We are looking to do even better this time than we did in 2014. All the space for events is now fully booked – it has been for weeks.

“We are up to 95 international delegations and we still have 15 new applications so we should exceed our target of 100 by the time the festival starts.”

Big guns who are backing the festival

IFB was originally the brainchild of former Minister for Merseyside Lord Heseltine and the Liverpool-born former chief executive of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy.

They were the joint authors of a report which detailed ways in which the UK could rebalance its economy.

“I keep coming back to something Sir Terry said,” added Mr Steinberg.

“He said he wished there had been an IFB when he was first running Tesco because having so many international delegations in one place would have made his job much easier.”

As well as securing financial backing from the Government, IFB2016 has attracted heavyweight sponsors including HSBC, BT and Google.

Google is bringing its ‘Google Garage’ concept to the festival, giving small firms the opportunity to have a ‘digital tune-up’ – learning how they best maximise digital channels to grow their businesses.

Mr Steinberg said: “Major British businesses are really buying in to the festival.

“For example, HSBC is bringing a significant number of its staff up to Liverpool for the duration of the festival.

“Those main sponsors are fantastic names and they are underpinned by supporters including Arup, Virgin Trains, DLA Piper, Dong Energy, Heathrow Airport, PwC and Siemens.”

Showcasing the best Liverpool and the UK has to offer

Earlier this week Mr Steinberg attended an event at the BT Tower in London where he updated senior business and Government figures on the latest plans for IFB2016.

In particular he talked about how the festival will be a showcase for the best of British business innovation.

Mr Steinberg explained: “As a showcase of all that’s great about British industry, IFB2016 will shed light on the industries that are fuelling the UK in the 21st century, the businesses that are driving these sectors, and the future stars of British enterprise across energy and environment, creative and digital and manufacturing.

“These are businesses that are thriving across the country – firms with the ambition and creativity that embody the spirit of Brand Britain.”

Mr Steinberg remains proud that IFB is once again taking place in his home city, as it will again in 2018 and 2020.

He added: “We need to make sure all these people leave Liverpool having had a very positive experience.”

SOURCE: LIVERPOOL ECHO

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