The Festival, which will be held at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool next June, will bring together businesses from around the world to access practical advice, make connections and hear from industry experts.
At the last International Business Festival in 2016, new business deals worth £250m were agreed, with some 500 UK companies securing exports worth in excess of £87m, according to independent research.
In a speech to announce his patronage, The Duke of Cambridge praised British business, saying that the UK’s prosperity relied on their ingenuity and dynamism.
The Duke, who has championed UK trade via the GREAT campaign in China, Japan and the United States, 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.
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.
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 city region as a result will be huge, and implore them to take full advantage.
“As we look to our future, and the new global trading relationships the UK will need to build moving forwards, the International Business Festival is more important than ever – and the support of His Royal Highness is hugely welcome.”
The International Business Festival will be held across nine days over three weeks from 12-28 June 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 alumnus and co-founder of Wirral-based ice cream producers Caffe Cream said: “It’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 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.”