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International Festival of Business urges Kirklees firms to get involved

Kirklees firms could open the door to hundreds of potential business deals at International Festival of Business

Stanley Dock in Liverpool with the rum warehouse (right), which is being converted into a 153-bed hotel

It’s a trip across the Pennines that Kirklees firms just have to make.

Liverpool is staging one of the biggest business events ever seen in the UK – and Kirklees companies have been urged not to miss out on the opportunities to build contacts and win contracts.

The International Festival of Business (IFB), which runs from June 9 to July 22, is being billed as the biggest showcase for British businesses since the Festival of Britain in 1951.

About 240 events, including seminars, conferences, networking sessions and trade talks will be held at 96 venues across the city and the wider region – with major focus on topics such as manufacturing and technology, education, the digital and creative sector and carbon reduction and renewables.

The festival opens on June 9 with a British Business Embassy, welcoming 200 civic leaders from major cities around the world, including Paris, Istanbul and Vancouver.

Organisers are investing £18m in the festival, which aims to generate £100m of business for UK plc over the medium-term as a result of deals done against the backdrop of the Mersey.

The festival aims to build on Liverpool’s success as 2008 Capital of Culture – but organisers are at pains to stress that the extravaganza is designed to showcase companies from across northern England – and demonstrate that the North can stage prestigious events just as well as London.

One Kirklees company has already booked its place. Birstall-based Fantastic Media has been shortlisted for the Northern Agency of the Year Award at the CIM Northern Marketing Awards, which are taking place as part of the festival.

The awards, hosted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, recognise and reward the insight, creativity and success of the northern marketing industry and aim to raise the profile of marketing in the region and champion professional marketing practices.

The category for which Fantastic Media has been nominated looks at the agency as a whole, taking into consideration its objectives, team, recent campaigns, achievements and details of challenges faced and how they were overcome.

Eight agencies, including Fantastic Media, Lancashire based agency Contrado Digital and Chester-Le-Street based agency, The Works, have been shortlisted after a high and competitive level of entries were submitted.

The CIM Northern Marketing Awards judges include David Teale, chief executive at North of England Excellence; Diane Earles, network manager at CIM; and Giovanna Battison, senior lecturer in marketing at Sheffield Business School at Sheffield Hallam University.

Andrew Hobson, managing director at Fantastic Media, said: “Industry awards recognise the consistency, reliability and quality of work delivered and it is with great pride that Fantastic has been recognised amongst a number of prestigious Northern agencies by the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Andrew Hobson, of Birstall-bsed Fantastic Media
 

“This marks our second shortlisting of the year following the Prolific North Awards, I am looking forward to considerable growth in 2014 and hopefully we’ll win a few awards on the way!”

IFB organisers said the summer of events aimed to rebalance the UK economy and close the wealth gap between north and south.

Festival director Ian McCarthy said: “It’s the Edinburgh Festival for business.

“It’s an opportunity for companies to meet other businesses in their field. Lots of business will be done on the fringes and margins of the big events, too. This will show what cities outside London can do.”

Events such as the IFB and the Tour de France’s arrival in Yorkshire this summer was turning the spotlight on the north.

Said Mr McCarthy: “Northern cities working together can demonstrate their ability to deliver results.”

Venues nearing completion for the IFB include the 153-bed Titanic Hotel, which also features restaurants and conference and exhibition centre.

The £35m project sees the transformation of a former rum warehouse at Liverpool’s Stanley Dock.

Other sites include the IFB Hub, a striking city centre building with facilities for conferences, a “trade floor” for companies to do business with potential overseas customers and suppliers and a media centre.

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