The success of the inaugural International Festival for Business (IFB) in Liverpool has been rewarded with immediate pay-back after Chancellor George Osborne committed funding for a 2016 edition of the event.
Osborne, speaking at one of the festival’s key events, the Santander SME summit at the Cunard Building on the waterfront, said he had granted a request for financial support for IFB 2016 from the Mayor of Liverpool.
“When I travel around the world meeting foreign governments and investors I am selling Britain as a brand and events like this International Festival for Business make that job easier. It’s a shop window for global markets and a reminder that we can be proud of the stamp that reads ‘Made in Britain’.
“So today 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.”
He added: “I will work with you all of you here to put on event that is even bigger and even better in two years’ time, so we can continue to put Britain, this great city of Liverpool and our inspirational small businesses out in the front.”
Mayor Anderson said of the news and the ongoing IFB 2014: “As we reach the half way stage of what has already been an inspiring and diverse programme of superb business events, I am delighted that its impact has been seen by government and that they have chosen Liverpool to reprise the international festival for business in 2016.
“A country like the UK that is looking to increase its exports should be holding an event like this on a regular basis.
“I am proud that Liverpool has been able to provide a wonderful platform for the UK to showcase the best of business and industry. It is truly a reflection of how far the city has come, the extent of our ambition and the fact that Liverpool is open for business.”
The Mayor said that staging the festival had been “no mean feat and my team at Liverpool Vision have risen to the challenge and I know we have the expertise to do it again”.
IFB 2014, which comprises over 300 events, is half way through a 50-day programme and is the largest global showcase for British industry across multiple sectors for more than 60 years.
Max Steinberg, Chair of IFB 2014, added: “I believe the festival is achieving our objectives of shining a light on the spheres of commercial endeavour that are transforming the new economies and business landscapes of Britain and beyond.
“Deals are being done, relationships are being made, visitors have thoroughly enjoyed their experience of the city and organisations are wanting to come back. International participation in this year’s festival has indicated that there will be further interest in coming to the city in 2016 and being part of the continuing worldwide economic recovery.”
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