IFB impact revealed

An interim evaluation report published today reveals that the UK’s first International Festival for Business (IFB) during the summer of 2014, helped to boost UK exports and generate thousands of new jobs.

Headlines from the report, which was launched at a meeting of British business leaders held  at the BT Tower, London last night (11 November 2014), showed, as a direct result of the Festival, that:

  • 3,000 UK companies secured or expect new domestic sales
  • 1,400 companies secured or expect export sales totalling £100 million
  • 350 companies expect to sign investment deals worth £200 million
  • Around 10,000 jobs could be created over the next three years

IFB 2014 was a global showcase for great British business and the largest business festival in the world this year.  The 50-day festival in Liverpool attracted 68,600 business attendees from 92 countries at 415 events including the British Business Embassy hosted by UK Trade & Investment at St George’s Hall, the BT Global City Leaders’ summit and the Santander SME summit.

Other highlights from the inaugural festival included: Accelerate 2014, Made in the UK, The Global University of the 21st Century and a whole series of UKTI led events and exhibitions at The IFB International Trade Hub.

Lord Livingston, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, said:

“The International Festival for Business results demonstrate the global demand for ‘Brand Britain’ which is creating jobs and growth across the UK.  Liverpool and the North West did a tremendous job in 2014 on behalf of all UK, and we’re now starting to see that hard work paying off in real export business for companies that took part.  I’m looking forward to even greater success in 2016.”

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “IFB 2014 was an ambitious and prestigious festival that really threw the spotlight on the city and wider region. For seven weeks, there was an incredible intensity and buzz as UK business delegates rubbed shoulders with guests drawn from around the world.

“The figures we have revealed today speak for themselves and clearly demonstrate the nuts and bolts of success and the boost it has given to businesses. It is now anticipated that the Festival will help to create and sustain around 10,000 jobs and that is something of which we are incredibly proud.

“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and that gives us the same vigour, tenacity and drive to make IFB 2016 even better.”

Sir Michael Rake, Chairman, BT Group plc said: “BT was delighted to be a pioneering partner in IFB.  It’s important to celebrate why business, entrepreneurship and innovation matter.  IFB gave us the opportunity to do just that and I am delighted that the Festival was such a resounding success.” 

Max Steinberg, Chairman of IFB 2014, said: “By any measure IFB 2014 was a resounding success but we are very pleased with the numbers the festival has helped achieve. These statistics are drawn straight from the feedback of those parties the festival was established for: businesses operating in the real economy.

“With so many reporting so many positive outcomes, such as the 350 companies expecting to sign investment deals totalling £200 million and the 1400 businesses looking to finalise £100 million of export sales, this is a ringing endorsement of the many hours of work that was put in by the whole team. The job now is to learn from the inaugural festival and really build on its success for 2016.”

Steve Pateman, Head of UK Banking, Santander said: “We were very proud that as part of our ongoing commitment to UK companies, Santander was an official partner for IFB 2014.  We know that British businesses want to grow, and that some of them have the ambition and the potential to grow on an international scale. If Government, banks and others work together to give UK companies the support they need to venture overseas, we know we can help rebalance the economy and ensure a sustainable economic recovery.”

George Osborne announced during the Festival that there will be an IFB 2016, hosted again in Liverpool on behalf of the UK. At the time the chancellor described IFB 2014 as “…a shop window for global markets and a reminder that we can be proud of the stamp that reads ‘Made in Britain'” and confirmed “I am backing this initiative, committing the funding requested by the Mayor Joe Anderson and Liverpool City Council for another festival here in Liverpool in 2016.”

Among other key findings from the report are:

9% of UK participants are now exploring export opportunities for the first time

13% of companies expect to create new jobs

10% of UK participants are looking to expand into new markets

Delegates spent in excess of £15 million

For more information and to get involved with IFB 2016 please visit http://www.ifb2016.com/