The International Business Festival has already boosted UK trade and investment by £600m, according to new research.
The biennial festival in Liverpool, previously held in 2014 and 2016, is the biggest event of its type in the world and has attracted 31,000 visitors from 98 countries with large delegations from India, the US and China.
Expect more of the same this year, as the festival gets underway at Exhibition Centre Liverpool on June 12 sponsored by HSBC. It runs until June 28.
The organisers say it will be particularly attractive to Cumbrian businesses eyeing overseas trade, with 30 per cent of delegates in 2016 reporting that the festival had encouraged them to begin exporting or explore new markets.
Sales valued at £250m were agreed at the 2016 festival with some 500 UK companies securing exports worth in excess of £87m.
Festival chair Max Steinberg said: “It is designed to appeal to a broad audience from start-ups to SMEs, and innovators to major corporations.
“We help businesses meet buyers and suppliers, developing partnerships and signing deals. This is the third festival and it promises to be better than ever.”
Speakers this year include Cherie Blair QC; Alex Cruz, Chairman and Chief Executive of British Airways; Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI; fashion designer Wayne Hemingway; politician Lord Heseltine; BBC Business Editor Simon Jack; Juergen Maier, Chief Executive of Siemens; Peter Moore, Chief Executive of Liverpool FC; and the economist Lord Jim O’Neill of Gatley.
Each day of the event will focus on a different high-growth business sector, including global economics, future transport, creative industries, manufacturing and health and life science.
This year sees the first tourism summit.
An innovation hub will showcase the latest business trends; a “festival incubator” will offer expert advice to expanding firms and there will be a wide range of cutting-edge conferences. Taking to the “blueskies stage” will be world-renowned industry experts, influencers and innovators.
Full details of speakers and events are on the IBF website, along with information on how to register.
Here is a flavour of the main hosted full-day and multi-day events, although there are more than 200 events in total.
The Global Future of Business, June 12: Organised by the British Chambers of Commerce in partnership with HSBC, covers Brexit and strategies to promote skills, productivity, foreign investment and UK-EU trade.
FinTech North, June 12: Aims to encourage collaboration and generate economic benefit across the Northern Powerhouse.
Scale-Up Britain, June 12: Examines the importance of ‘scale up’ businesses to the British economy. Five panel events followed by Q&As.
World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment, June 12 and 13: For any business involved in international investment or expansion.
The Future of Real Estate Summit, June 13: Brings the public and private sectors together to highlight and debate advancing issues.
Global Smart City Summit, June 13 and 14: Features case studies from London, Amsterdam, Palo Alto, Milton Keynes, Madrid, Utrecht and Miami.
Water and the Circular Economy, June 14: Wastewater is the largest untapped waste category – this event will highlight the business opportunity of building a circular water economy.
Global Renewable Energy Supply Chain Conference, June 14: Highlighting international commercial, technology and R&D collaboration opportunities.
Energy Storage Systems Conference, June 14: Explores the innovative solutions that exist to provide real-world benefits.
TEDX Liverpool: Together We Face the Future, June 17: A snapshot of the future for technology, science, design, entertainment, media and entrepreneurship.
The Space Age – A Global Revolution, June 19: For industry, start ups, SMEs, entrepreneurs and investors in this high-growth sector.
New Mobility Global, June 19: Focus on how new technologies and innovations are affecting the future of transportation and infrastructure.
Maritime Autonomy in Future Sea Transport, June 19: Panel discussions and Q&A sessions covering the impact of autonomy on the shipping industry.
Food and Drink Exporters Association, June 20: Focus on the implications of Brexit for food and drink businesses with expert speakers, a meet-the-buyer event and exporting workshops.
Manufacturing Excellence, June 20 and 21: How to achieve world-class status in industrial engineering and production.
The Manufacturer Software Connect, June 21: Manufacturers across Europe examine the industry’s software needs of tomorrow.
International Maritime Forum, June 21: Driving global trade in a post-Brexit Britain, including how digitalisation and blockchain technologies can streamline shipping and port operations.
Automotive Leaders’ Summit, June 21: Examines supply chain challenges and solutions and solutions to some of the issues facing today’s global markets.
International Robotics Showcase, June 21: Scientists present the latest advancements in robotics, with debates and demonstrations.
Transforming Healthcare – Everybody’s Business, June 26: Explores NHS collaborations, projects and initiatives.
The Healthy Future Partnering Event, June 26: Centred around opportunities in the biomedical, healthcare and life sciences sectors.
SheTrades Global, June 26-28: SheTrades is the International Trade Centre’s global initiative to connect 1m women entrepreneurs to market by 2020.
Health is Wealth, June 26: Connects leaders and change makers in healthcare with researchers, innovators and businesses.
Bioconclave, June 26: Hear views from clinical research industry leaders, see new technologies in the exhibition demonstrations and gain access to leading researchers, industry leaders and innovators.
European Search Conference, June 27: Showcases winning campaigns from International SEO and PPC agencies and in-house marketing teams.
Discovering Real Business Opportunities in the Asian Markets, June 27: Highlights opportunities for business and collaboration between UK and Asia and to nurture existing relationships with a focus on the environment of music.
Major Events Summit, June 27 and 28: Focuses on knowledge sharing, building relationships and serving a professional network of major event experts.
Like Minds Create, June 28: Unites designers and the people who commission them to get to grips with the latest in design procurement and best practice.
Future Global Opportunities for UK tourism, June 28: Examines opportunities for inbound and outbound tourism, with insights from authorities in the travel and tourism sector.
Online Dispute Resolution for Business – Justice Re-imagined, June 28: Learn how ODR improves supply chain relations and customer loyalty.