£1.7 billion opportunity at International Festival for Business

The International Festival for Business (IFB2014) launches today, offering in partnership with UKTI and the Department of Business Skills and Innovation, more than 1,000 live business opportunities with an estimated value of over £1.7bn.

Starting with UKTI’s British Business Embassy event, the Festival will comprise more than 250 high value business events and more than 70 cultural events running for the next 50 days across Liverpool and the North West.

The biggest business festival to take place in Britain for 60 years, IFB2014 is expected to attract around 250,000 business and cultural visitors from more than 80 countries to hear from a world-class line up of speakers from the worlds of business, government, technology and beyond.

First launched by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in 2013, IFB2014 is a central part of the UK Government’s plans to drive growth and rebalance the economy. It aims to help contribute to doubling British exports to £1 trillion by 2020, and generating more than £100 million of foreign investment for the UK over the next five years.

IFB2014 has received the support of leading government and business figures including  Lord Heseltine and Sir Terry Leahy, former Tesco CEO.

The Festival also boasts an impressive roster of Ambassadors who pledged their support including John Cridland CBE, Director General, CBI; John Allan, National Chairman, FSB; Terry Scuoler, chief executive, EEF, The Manufacturers’ Organisation; Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, Sara Murray OBE, founder of Confused.com and buddi; and Ed Wray, Co-founder of Betfair.

IFB2014 in key numbers:

• 250,000 expected business and cultural visitors
• 80 + countries represented
• Over 250 business events
• Over 70 cultural events
• 150 UK SMEs will receive tailored export advice from UKTI experts
• Each day visitor to IFB2014 is worth £54
• Each overnight visitor is worth £271

The largest global showcase of great British industries and sectors in a generation, IFB2014 will provide a platform for business leaders, established giants of British industry, entrepreneurs of high-growth businesses and unsung heroes of SMEs. Highlighting the opportunities across the spread of the UK, the diverse programme of events will take place at more than 96 locations most of which are in Liverpool and the North West.

Beginning at St George’s Hall with the British Business Embassy, delegates will hear from prominent business figures including Lord Livingston, Minister of State for Trade and Investment; Sir Terry Leahy; Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Cities Growth Commission; Lord Heseltine; Ron Dennis CBE, Chairman, McLaren; and Ana Botin, CEO, Santander UK.

Befitting of Liverpool’s title as a cultural capital, an extensive cultural programme consisting of more than 70 events runs in conjunction with the main Festival. This culminates with Memories of August 1914, the grande finale by Royal de Luxe, which is also one of the UK’s flagship World War One commemoration events, featuring giant marionettes parading through Liverpool, July 24-27.

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “IFB2014 is finally upon us and I couldn’t be more excited with the outlook and prospects ahead of us and the amount of people who will be visiting the city.

“The aim of the Festival was to create the biggest business gathering of 2014 in the UK, bringing the opportunities directly to our shores and our businesses.

“What we have ahead is exactly that: a 50 day high value line-up of events and conferences that will be pivotal for UK businesses, providing them with unprecedented access to global markets. It will also demonstrate that Liverpool, the city region and the wider North West are great business locations and are making significant contributions to economic growth.”

Max Steinberg, Chairman of IFB2014, said: “IFB2014 will put the North West, the UK and indeed Liverpool firmly on the map as a great place to do business. The calibre of events, speakers and locations reflects the greatness of British industry and business and I look forward to witnessing first-hand the wealth of opportunities that the Festival will present.”

Liverpool Waterfront