Countdown on for big business festival

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Mayor Joe Anderson has showed his support for the International Festival of Business  © Twitter BBC Merseyside

Mayor Joe Anderson has showed his support for the International Festival of Business
© Twitter BBC Merseyside

A multi-million pound international business festival is coming to Liverpool for six weeks in June, bringing over 250,000 visitors to the city.

The 100-day countdown has begun for the International Festival for Business 2014, which is the largest global concentration of business events in one city during 2014 and the largest business event in the UK for over a decade.

The event aims to attract entrepreneurs and businesses, connecting UK business growth into international markets with representation from over 125 countries attending.

Dominique Aspey, of the LJMU centre of entrepreneurship told JMU Journalism: “The International Festival for Business builds on the success of 2012’s Global Entrepreneurship Congress as it brings another major event to Liverpool.

“LJMU is supporting the IFB with a number of fringe events and we are encouraging our networks to get involved with the event – particularly new and growing businesses – as this is their moment in the international spotlight and a real opportunity to build relationships with new customers and partners.”

There will be over 150 business-focused events in Liverpool ranging from major international conventions, exhibitions and conferences, master classes, seminars, award ceremonies, dinner and ‘meet the buyer’ events.

James Gower, from Liverpool Vision, told JMU Journalism: “The events are very broad. There are the World Corporate Games which is very like the business Olympics, cultural programmes, and lots of government events.”

The festival is also aiming to inspire 500 businesses to get started across Merseyside in a new campaign called Spark Up. It will give new business owners the chance to attend a boot-camp style programme of master classes.

Former Tesco Chief Executive Terry Leahy said earlier that Liverpool was still lacking in entrepreneurial ambition and needed more people who are prepared to take a risk and set up small businesses.

In response, Dominique Aspey told JMU Journalism: ““Liverpool has a long-standing history of entrepreneurship with many well-known success stories. Could more be done? Always.

“But that opinion could be applied to any major city outside London.  From where I stand, I see nothing but a hunger for business start-up and a desire to succeed and with support available in so many places, through advice, access to funding, lively networks and peer support, it’s not difficult to start a business in this city.”

The festival will be set out in themes over the six weeks including Maritime, Logistics and Energy, Higher and Further Education, Cities, Enterprise and Urban Business, Manufacturing, Science and Technology and Low Carbon and Renewables.

About Jessica Watters, JMU Journalism