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The International Festival For Business

The International Festival For Business 2014 is now well under way in Liverpool. This 50 day event runs for all of June and most of July and is intended to be “the largest global concentration of business events during 2014”.

ifb2014-logoBacked by the government the intention is very much export orientated and focused on supporting a re-balancing of the economy towards export led growth and wealth generation. By locating the event in Liverpool, it is also a refreshing endorsement of the North and a great opportunity for Liverpool to showcase the city and the commercial case for locating and doing business there.

It claims to be for businesses of all sizes, from the smallest to the largest so there really should be something for everyone.

The festival has two main thrusts: events and opportunities.

Events

The events come from private businesses and it looks like there may be opportunities for businesses to add their events to the calendar as the festival progresses. There are 25 events in this week alone and over 200 throughout the festival overall.

The events are located around the ‘Hub’ which is located on Mann Island.

You need to be a registered member of the IFB Business Club to gain access to the IFB Hub. This is free and registration can be made online (see below), or in person at the IFB Hub from Monday 9th June, on weekdays 9am-6pm.

The events are organised around international themes running as follows:

9th June-13th June:    Latin America Week

16th June-20th June:   Europe Week

23rd June-27th June:   South East Asia Week

30th June-4th July:    China Week

7th July-11th July:    India Week

14th July-18th July:   USA Week

With the World Cup starting this week there is no better time to be focusing on, and kicking off with, South America.

Opportunities

The opportunities can be accessed via free registration to the IFB Business Club on the website (http://www.ifb2014.com) and are split into 4 main categories:

  • Supplier Opportunity
  • Investment Opportunity
  • Meet The UK Buyer
  • Supply Partner

Supplier Opportunities

The Supplier Opportunities are truly world wide and are drawn mainly from the export opportunities that normally come from UKTI, although the number of sources will no doubt grow as the festival progresses.

Some of these opportunities are absolutely huge with one opportunity in Australia looking for £9 billion in products and services for people with disabilities. There is a very good mix of both service and product opportunities covering a wide range of areas and disciplines.

One thing that is striking with regard to the opportunities from the developing world especially, is the implied respect for UK services in the requests. For example a request from UAE is seeking a contractor for the management of major warehouse facilities in Dubai.

Investment Opportunities

The investment opportunities are a little thin at the outset with just two opportunities pointing at events that are looking at opportunities in Macedonia.

This is perhaps a little surprising as inward investment has in recent times been a clarion call from Liverpool with talk of Chinese inward investment being sought for the city. So one might have expected a couple of North West opportunities in there at least.

Meet the UK Buyer

This section is very much like supplier opportunities, but from the UK only as the name implies.   There is a good mix of private and public with things like major super markets looking for new product lines running alongside NHS trusts looking for new suppliers.

Posting Your Own Requirements

The registration process is a painless and free and once registered it is possible to search other businesses/people that are also registered to contact and hook up with – LinkedIn style.

At the time of writing, there were 7184 IFB Business club members to search on so this is something definitely worth looking at.

Logged in members can also post requirements – effectively creating a supplier opportunity. However, this also prompts for partnership opportunities including agencies and joint development type work and also allows you to signify the type of work you are looking for.

This function is little clunky as it seems to be a one shot affair – so make sure you get it right first time.

Final Thoughts

It is difficult to say anything critical about something everyone in the UK should want to succeed as the intended end result must be increased wealth for the UK overall.

One big criticism though is the publicity before the event – there might have been more.

There are a few weeks to go though, so we wish it well and will be adding more information here as, and when, there is more to say.

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