British business marks 100-day countdown to international festival for business 2016

Britain's business leaders marked the 100-day countdown to the International Festival for Business 2016 (IFB2016) at an exclusive showcase hosted by HSBC.

The event, held on 11 March, featured an all-star panel made up of IFB2016 ambassadors, including Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria, Unruly Co-CEO Sarah Wood and GP Bullhound co-founder Manish Madhvani, with the keynote address delivered by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI CEO Catherine Raines).

Attendees were given an update on the plans for this world's biggest business event by IFB2016 chair Max Steinberg and IFB2016 Director Ian McCarthy, with the organisers spelling out what delegates can expect from the festival.

Max Steinberg CBE, Chair of IFB2016, said:

"The UK had never done anything like this before 2014. At the inaugural festival, I watched people who had never met sit down and do deals, deals that you couldn't imagine having happened otherwise.

"Our ambition is that by 2020 IFB2016 will be an integral part of UK business calendar. It's not in London, so we can showcase the UK's riches from a regional perspective.

"The UK makes great products, but we are a bit shy as a nation about promoting it. IFB2016 is about showcasing what British business makes and does. Governments and businesses from around the globe view our economy as one to invest in - it is solid, growing and sustainable.

"Whether you are a small firm or a large corporate, you will do more business by attending the festival."

Ian McCarthy, Director of IFB2016, said:

"The purpose of the festival is clear. To help businesses increase their international sales and to establish the UK's position as the home of international trade.

"IFB2016 provides a practical business experience and you get that through learning from experienced leaders, obtaining specialist advice, meeting with investment services, and by interacting with your peers."

Dr Catherine Raines, CEO of UK Trade & Investment, said:

"IFB2016 is a unique opportunity for UK businesses and attending is the natural next step for companies inspired to trade overseas by Exporting is GREAT. Our export hub will take residence at IFB2016 for the full three weeks, hosting activity that complements UKTI's programme of high caliber sector events. Our international network is also helping to attract the best international buyers and investors to IFB2016.

"As we start the 100-day countdown to IFB2016, I urge UK companies and overseas buyers and investors to register. Together we can make the festival a huge success and grow the business of all companies taking part."

Sarah Wood, co-founder & co-CEO of Unruly & IFB2016 Ambassador said:

"I had so much fun in 2014, but I'm looking forward to IFB2016 because we are expanding into Asia Pacific at the moment. And rather than us having to go there, Asia Pacific will be coming to us.

"This is happening in the right place at the right time. With a very stable and entrepreneur friendly government, the UK is a great place to be. Other nations recognise that."

Manish Madhvani, co-founder & managing partner of GP Bullhound & IFB2016 Ambassador said:

"A few years ago the UK wasn't seen as the tech hub it is seen now, but we are now leading the world in some areas. If you want to build a large business, you need to think globally early on.

"These festivals are often about broadening the mind, but you also want to come away feeling as though you have closed deals and helped grown your business. We will be there in Liverpool to say that Britain is open for business."

Helen Tse, CEO, Sweet Mandarin is a small business owner who attended IFB2014. She said:

"Through connections made at IFB2014, we were invited by The Prime Minister to join a trade mission to China to promote our products. What's amazing is that we now export to China - a market we never thought we would reach. It is like selling ice to the Eskimos and has transformed our business."

Backed by the UK Government, IFB2016 will open on 13 June and run for three weeks. It will bring together thousands of global businesses, providing a platform for companies to connect and conduct international commerce.

HSBC and BT are the lead sponsors of IFB2016 - and the festival's commercial partners include ARUP, DLA Piper, DONG Energy, Heathrow, PwC, Siemens and Virgin Trains.


Notes to editors

About IFB2016         

Delivered in partnership with UK Trade & Investment, the GREAT Britain Campaign and with the support of the UK Government, IFB2016 will be a global marketplace for creating connections and doing deals. It runs from 13 June to 1 July 2016 at the state-of-the-art Exhibition Centre Liverpool. It brings together thousands of businesses from around the world for three weeks of events to explore new export opportunities, networking and deal-making.

There will be about 80 notable events during IFB2016. This includes World Broadband Alliance's Wi-Fi Global Congress 2016 - the world's leading Wi-Fi event; the much-respected ACCELERATE event, which provides a unique accelerator for growth, motivation and an opportunity to connect businesses; TEDx comes to IFB2016 with speakers exploring what's in store for the future of technology, science, design, entertainment, media and entrepreneurship and how that will help fuel changes in looking at the world, industry and business.

Joining the International Festival for Business Club is delegates' free ticket into the festival and also provides access to incredible benefits during the run-up to the festival. This includes a raft of essential business support services, which will be launched in the very near future.

About UK Trade & Investment and the GREAT Britain Campaign at IFB2016
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) – the government department that helps UK-based companies export and international companies establish and expand in the UK – is hosting an exciting programme of 15 events at IFB2016. The events are aligned with weekly sector themes: week one, manufacturing; week two, energy and environment; week three, creative and digital. Businesses can register for UKTI events online.

The GREAT Britain campaign showcases the best of what the UK has to offer to inspire the world and encourage people to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK. It is the Government’s most ambitious international promotional campaign ever, uniting the efforts of the public and private sector to generate jobs and growth for Britain.

The UKTI Investment Showcase at IFB2016 will highlight high-value investment opportunities across the UK to visiting investors, while investment advisors will be on hand to provide specialist advice about setting up in the UK, including the support that the Government can provide.