West Midlands firms urged to sign up for the biggest business festival in the world

West Midlands businesses still have chance to sign up for the world’s biggest business festival next month (June).

The biennial International Festival for Business 2016 (IFB2016) takes place over three weeks from 13 June to 1 July at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, when tens of thousands of ambitious companies will take up the chance of meeting buyers, investors, suppliers and technology partners.

Dozens of businesses from the West Midlands are already signed up to attend the major event, which in 2014 led to the completion of more than £280m of export and investment deals.

Any business can also join one of the region’s seven Travel to Trade delegations and benefit from international trade adviser (ITA) support before and at the festival, plus the chance to apply for subsidised travel.

Christine Hamilton, interim director of UK Trade & Investment West Midlands, who is also attending the event, said more than 100 international delegations are attending:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses from our region to see the world and explore the export opportunities that are available to them from a single venue, just a couple of hours up the motorway.

“Interest in the three-week festival has been strong from companies in the West Midlands area so we are hoping for a very good turn-out because it offers the chance for them to connect with buyers from key markets across the globe, including India, China, and South East Asia, and to kickstart their exporting dreams.”

IFB 2016 has three themes: the first week will focus on manufacturing; the second will have an energy and environment theme, while creative and digital industries will be a key focus in the final week.

Christine Hamilton added:

“These sectors are all vital to the West Midlands economy, so I would urge any company that is planning to grow, start exporting for the first time or expanding its global reach further to head to this global market place.”

One business attending IFB is Staffordshire-based SoulandJazz.com – an internet based music service and platform that creates free-to-stream programming with an audience across 187 countries.

CEO Brian Hurst, said:

“It’s all about building relationships and this is a superb opportunity to get the conversation started. For us, it’s a smart use of time and money because if you’re already in the room with people who you want to do business with, you can get things moving immediately.

“IFB2016 will allow us the opportunity to establish such connections where the potential for global business can be initiated locally.

The USA and Japan are already big markets for us but we are now looking to target South Korea this year and will be working towards that. We have a clear strategy in mind, which is very important, and I’m sure that by attending IFB will help us realise our goals.”

IFB2016 takes place at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre and will include guest speakers, including former South African president FW de Klerk, business sessions, expert-matching advice from UKTI advisers, seminars and workshops.

Registration and attendance is free. To register, visit https://www.ifb2016.com/

For details about the Travel to Trade delegations from across the West Midlands region, visit IFB16.eventbrite.com

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