Bustling aisles, packed speaker sessions, celebrities, selfies and politicians were all in attendance at day one of International Confex, the show that organisers are saying is ‘firmly back on the industry map’.
The first show under the new owners Mash Media was opened by Nick de Bois MP who said the show was “the place where the industry meets”.
“It’s a real pleasure to open this magnificent show,” said de Bois and urged the industry to “speak with one voice”.
“A step in that direction,” he added, “is to meet in one place; that place is International Confex”. He went on to describe the news of co-location of the show with the Event Production Show as “another positive step”.
Karren Brady, Vice-Chairman of West Ham United FC, brought star quality to the show floor early on, and there was standing room only and long queues to catch a glimpse as she spoke of her career in the football business and shared tips on entrepreneurial leadership. She spoke of the “fine line between risk and reward” and the woman who sold Birmingham City FC for £82m, said West Ham United FC was now producing the eighth highest income among UK clubs.
The first lady of football said she preferred the simple title of “working mum” and her run through of six ingredients for successful operations management clearly struck a chord in the Q&A that followed as she was mobbed for advice, selfies and comments on Lord Sugar by members of the 200-plus audience at the end of her talk.
Exhibitor stands were bright and buzzing right from the off.
The keynote followed an earlier session on the Industry Response to the APPG Inquiry, chaired by the BVEP Vice-Chair Richard Foulkes and Campaign Director Alistair Turner.
Five key recommendations were discussed for future policy elaboration and work by the industry and its leading associations.
Education sessions were well attended and there were no spare seats in the CN Conference Question Time afternoon session on technology with a panel of five thought leaders in the sphere of event technology.
“We’re delighted with day one of the show, it was heaving all day and the educational programme was packed,” said Exhibition Director Donna Bushell.
“We said we wanted to give the show back to the industry and the industry has responded in style and in its thousands, we can’t thank everyone enough for this amazing show of support. Confex is once again back on the industry map and we’re looking forward to an equally productive day two and a bright future for the show,” Bushell added.
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