Record numbers expected at this year's Leicester Business Festival

Record numbers of people are set to attend this year’s Leicester Business Festival, a two-week showcase of events, exhibitions and celebrations.

Highcross launch

The festival, which is sponsored by Leicester Castle Business School at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) features 154 events showcasing the diversity, vibrancy and potential of the economy in Leicester and Leicestershire.

The 2017 showcase will be the biggest ever held in the region. It aims to attract inward investment, raise the profile of the city and county to businesses and forge new links between existing companies.

More than 12,500 people are expected to attend events throughout the next two weeks, with more than a third coming from outside the region and overseas. Events have been created by business, for business to access practical advice, make connections and hear from industry experts.

LBF launch

Business leaders attended a breakfast launch at Highcross Leicester this morning for the official launch compered by LCBS Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor Enterprise, Professor Dana Brown.

One of the headline speakers was DMU graduate Peter Cooper, who is now running the UK Shopping Centres for retail giant Hammersons, owners of Highcross.

Peter, who studied Land Management at DMU in the 1980s, said he held fond memories both of the city and the university. He said: “Leicester has a great retail tradition – we have all the right ingredients for a bright, secure future.”

As part of the festival, DMU is hosting 14 events including free sessions for start-ups, advice on keeping and developing talented staff and solving business challenges. 

Prof Brown, a former business consultant, said she had an “almost tireless enthusiasm” for Leicester and Leicestershire’s business potential.

She said: “There is a real positive energy in Leicester – there is a unique dynamism here coupled with a resilience, and an ability to reinvent ourselves.  We firmly believe that in the current and future economic environment, partnerships between Government, schools, universities and businesses working together for common goals will be ever more important.”

Leicester’s City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said thousands of new jobs had been created in Leicester since the start of the festival three years ago, and that tourism was now a key player in the economy, bringing in £600million to the city every year with 10.8million visitors in 2016.

He said: “Every year the enthusiasm for and participation in this festival gets better. We in Leicester have a lot to be proud of in terms of jobs and investment. The festival will build on this momentum.”

Entrepreneur Eileen Richards quit her corporate job to set up her own business and has grown her initial three clients into a thriving recruitment business.  She said: “Leicester is truly on the world stage. You no longer have to say ‘we’re an hour away from London’. We need to create better retention as this makes a difference to existing businesses and encourages more to come to the city.”
Posted on Monday 23 October 2017

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