PRINCE WILLIAM announced he will be the Patron of Liverpool’s 2018 International Business Festival at a launch event in London. (Thursday night)
The Festival, at the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool, next to the Echo Arena, next June, will bring together businesses from across the country and around the world to access practical advice, make connections and hear inspirational presentations from industry experts.
New business deals valued at £250m were agreed at the most recent edition of the last Festival in 2016, with around 500 UK companies securing export deals worth over £87m, according to independent research.
In a speech at Lancaster House, William, The Duke of Cambridge, praised British business, saying that the UK’s prosperity relied on its ingenuity and dynamism.
The Duke also highlighted the positive and transformative impact of business in Liverpool – pointing to its heritage as a major international port and reputation as a centre for excellence for the knowledge economy and advanced industry.
Additionally, he called on British companies to help combat the UK’s skills deficit by investing in the development of the next generation of business leaders, through training and mentoring of young people.
He said: ‘I am pleased to announce my patronage of the 2018 International Business Festival; an event held in Liverpool on behalf of Britain, bringing together business people from around the world.
‘The UK’s prosperity relies on its wealth of innovative and ambitious small and medium-sized businesses. Whenever I have had the chance to meet the people who run such enterprises, I have been struck by their ingenuity, drive and commitment. They demonstrate the best qualities of our national character.
‘As we look to Britain’s future, it is important that we focus on developing the talent of our next generation of business leaders and providing with them opportunities to thrive.
‘We know that one of the major challenges for business is access to a skilled workforce. The International Business Festival has a vital role in encouraging businesses to become further involved in the training and mentoring of young people in enterprise. It is only by investing in our young people that we will be able to build the fair and prosperous society we all want to live in.
‘I very much look forward to seeing the festival myself in June next year, and I trust that it will be an unqualified success putting people in touch, facilitating ideas and increasing prosperity.”
The Duke of Cambridge made the announcement in front of an audience of senior business and government leaders as well as entrepreneurs behind some of the small and medium-sized enterprises who participated in previous editions of the International Business Festival.
The Duke, has championed UK trade via the GREAT campaign in China, Japan and the United States.
Max Steinberg, Chairman of the International Business Festival, said: ‘Having the Duke on board as Festival Patron will be a huge boost to our presence in key international markets, helping us to attract even more delegations to Liverpool next June.
‘The opportunities for businesses in the city region as a result will be huge, and implore them to take full advantage.
‘As we look to the future, and the new global trading relationships the UK will need to build moving forward, the International Business Festival is more important than ever – and the support of His Royal Highness is hugely welcome.’
The International Business Festival, which is supported by the UK government through the Department for International Trade, will be held across nine days over three weeks from June 12-28, 2018, with each day’s programme focused on a high-growth industry – from manufacturing to sustainable energy.
The Festival will also play host to a range of high-profile third-party events – including the SheTrades Forum, the world’s biggest women’s entrepreneurs conference organised by the UN and WTO.
Justin Dooley, Festival veteran and co-founder of Wirral-based ice cream producers Caffe Cream served samples of his product at the Lancaster House event.
He said: ‘t’s a real honour to be here tonight with the Duke of Cambridge. He’s a massive champion of UK businesses, so it feels like a perfect match. We attended the International Business Festival in both 2014 and 2016 and it has provided us some fantastic opportunities. We were able to pitch to major buyers and make connections to help market our ice cream internationally.”
To purchase tickets for 2018 International Business Festival visit internationalbusinessfestival.com