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Leicester Business Festival propels into fifth year

Applications to run an event in the 2019 Leicester Business Festival are now open on the official LBF website and businesses have until 4 September to get their events in.

Anyone can apply to run an event in the Festival - which can be about anything so long as it stands to benefit other businesses by creating a forum where others can listen, learn, share, engage, engage, network, question or debate. As well, the Festival provides the region’s strength and placement in innovation, commerce and culture.

The Leicester Business Festival, headline partnered by Leicester Castle Business School, is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, having been established in 2015 by the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

Within two years, it became so successful that the LLEP was able hand the Festival back to the business community - for whom it was originally established, and it became a Community Interest Company (CIC) with the operation and delivery being managed by Associate Events.

Over the past five years, the Business Festival has continued to grow in presence and in 2018, it topped a marketing circulation of 37 million. Over 1200 businesses were involved – a 16 per cent increase on the previous year.

Alister de Ternant, (left) managing director of Associate Events has been involved in the Business Festival from inception. He said, “When we first talked about the business festival concept nearly six years ago now, never in our wildest dreams did we imagine it would be so successful so quickly. There was obviously an appetite from the business community for engagement and growth

“Leicester is by far the biggest business festival and it is the second largest B2B [Business to Business] event in the UK. With an average of 7,000 attendees each year, it has continued on a journey of success - both in itself and for the region. It’s no coincidence that there has been an upward momentum since the Business Festival was introduced. It has brought together like-minded people who all share a passion for the region and who know the benefits of working here.

“We have also ensured the Business Festival continues to evolve. Each year there have been new developments including changes in sectors, the introduction of venue partners, coffee hubs, the App and improvements to the brochure. Our focus is now on bringing a greater national and international presence to the Leicestershire region to enhance the economic growth and inward investment value that we know the Festival can bring. More about this will be released in the next few weeks.”

Scott Charlish, (left) head of East Midlands Financial Planning at wealth management firm, Brewin Dolphin is Chair of the LBF steering group. He said, “It’s exciting time for the Business Festival having reached the big five-year mark. This is regarded as quite a milestone in business survival rate terms.

“We’ve got lots of great plans in the pipeline for the Festival, but right now, we would like businesses – large or small to get involved – and there are many ways to do so, whether this is partnering, sponsoring, running one, two or several events, or being a venue host.”

“I would encourage people to look at the website for more information. Anyone thinking of running an event should start forming ideas as soon as possible. Even though there are over two months to get applications in, this time will fly by!”

Two workshops about how to host an event in the Business Festival are being run to help businesses understand the process and how to get the best out of their event within the Festival.

The first of these is on Tuesday 2 July, from 10am to 12 noon at the Harborough Innovation Centre in Market Harborough. The second is the day after, on Wednesday 3 July, from 3pm to 5pm at De Montfort University's Leicester Castle Business School.

These are both available to book onto through the Business Festival website where there is also lots more information, or by contacting Sarah Johnson at

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