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Industry leaders add weight to Business Festival

Thirteen high profile business leaders are heading up the key sectors in this year’s annual Leicester Business Festival running between 23rd October and 3rd November.

Sponsored by Leicester Castle Business School, this year’s Business Festival will see over 150 events taking place all across the city and county - more than ever before in its three-year history.

To raise the profile of the Festival more widely, the programme of events has been divided into 13 sectors that are important to the economic growth of the area and that reflect the diverse range of industries that are based here.

Each sector is led by a business professional who is well-known in their industry and extremely knowledgeable in their area of expertise. This year’s sector leads are:

  • Sam Stephens (Director, TBAT Innovation) - Advanced Manufacturing

  • Rupert Harrison (Joint Managing Director, Andrew Granger & Co) - Agriculture

  • Kevin Urquhart (Managing Director, Fraser Urquhart Media) - Communications, Marketing & Business Support

  • Geoff Rowe (CEO of Big Difference Company, Director of Leicester Comedy Festival) - Creative Industries

  • Howard Ebison (Commercial Director, East Midlands Airport, Bournemouth Airport, MAG Cargo) – Distribution & Logistics

  • Dana Brown (Principal, Leicester Castle Business School) - Education

  • Fay Davies (General Manager, Food & Drink Forum) - Food & Drink

  • Professor Rick Greenough (Professor of Energy Systems, Acting Head of School of Engineering and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University) - Low Carbon

  • Scott Charlish (Head of Financial planning, Brewin Dolphin) - Professional Services

  • Jo Tallack (General Manager, Highcross Leicester) - Retail

  • Kevin Routledge (Chairman of Leicester Riders, Director of Leicester Arena, Trustee of the Riders Charity, Leicester Riders Foundation, Director of the British Basketball League, Vice Chair of the Basketball Foundation, Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Basketball) - Sport & Health

  • Altaf Ahmed (Business Investment Manager, Leicester City Council) & Sue Tilley (Economic Strategy Manager for Business, LLEP) – Textiles

  • Sharon Redrobe OBE (CEO, Twycross Zoo) - Tourism & Hospitality.

Sector leads are responsible for overseeing and promoting their sector, ensuring that the events are relevant and reflect the trends in the industry as well as using their vast networks to spread the word.

Scott Charlish from Brewin Dolphin is the sector lead for Professional Services. He said, “I am delighted to be associated with the Leicester Business Festival 2017. Recent events have made Leicester and Leicestershire a truly exciting place to do business.

“I firmly believe that the financial and professional services community are very well placed to play our part in the further development of the area which in my view has become one of the most exciting places to conduct business in the UK.”

Scott Knowles, chair of the LBF Steering Group, said, “I would like to thank all the sector leads for their commitment and contribution to the Business Festival. These individuals are vital to its success. Their extensive networks and links to the industry will be invaluable in promoting Leicester and Leicestershire to a wider audience and driving investment from beyond of the region.

“Last year, 24 per cent of attendees came from outside of Leicestershire and we want to continue to attract interest in this area and raise awareness of the Business Festival on a local, regional and national level.”

Kevin Urquhart (Managing Director, Fraser Urquhart Media) the sector lead for Communications, Marketing & Business Support added, “'Brand Leicestershire' has never been hotter - and we need to be capitalising on this currency without delay, be that encouraging, supporting and growing business from within, or attracting investors from further afield. Leicester, with its diverse communities is rightfully living up to its premier league status. The Business Festival harnesses this energy and goodwill and focuses it to create positive change."

Leicester Business Festival was the first of its kind to be run in the UK and, in now its third year it is by far, the largest. Historically it has seen great results, with over a third of events filling out to capacity and over 12,500 people attending last year. The aim is to encourage investment and business growth across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland for the benefit of all who live, do business and work there.

Along with the headline partner, Leicester Castle Business School, the 2017 Festival has the support of well-known business organisations including East Midlands Chamber, LLEP Business Gateway, the Federation of Small Businesses, Highcross Leicester, Brewin Dolphin, Leicester Racecourse and IBM.

Scott Charlish from Brewin Dolphin - sector lead for Professional Services

Other supporters include East Midlands Trains, IOD, De Montfort University, Leicester University and media partners, Capital FM, Global Radio, FU Media and the Leicester Mercury.

For more information including applying to run an event, visit or email

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