Festival proves Leicester's resilience as largest digital business festival in UK
Another incredibly successful Leicester Business Festival drew to a close this afternoon [Friday 13 November] amid the glory of being hailed the largest digital business festival in the UK.
Now in its sixth year, the LBF, which is headline partnered by De Montfort University (DMU), has seen exceptional engagement once again - despite the challenges of the pandemic. The marketing circulation exceeded 31.5 million and the number of attendees to the 118, free events in the programme, topped 3000.
The exciting fortnight was filled with businesses events on almost every subject, run by companies, organisations and professionals from all over the region.
Most events were digital and run using the Zoom platform. This posed no problem to the Leicester business community and those who were new to digital events received thorough training from the LBF management team at Associate Events.
When the Government plunged England into its second lockdown mid-way through the first week, the Festival was barely affected and in fact, almost the opposite effect was felt. Statistics show that attendees from outside the region soared to 28 per cent from 16 per cent last year, and came from 38 different countries around the world including Australia, South Africa, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Germany and India. Attendee figures to the individual events remained high across the two weeks and the number of people registering though the LBF systems increased marginally on the previous year.
Richard Osborn, director of the LBF Community Interest Company and Midlands regional director for Excello Law said, “The unfortunate situation with the Coronavirus pandemic could quite possibly have ended the LBF - but in fact the opposite has happened. We have been totally bowled over by the amount of events, the number of attendees, the level of engagement and also, the spirit in which the business community has approached the Festival.
“The region has regarded the LBF as a welcome opportunity to come together and ‘do business’ – albeit online. Leicester is a very resilient place and there is no better platform on which to demonstrate its strength, innovation, culture and commerce than through the Festival.
“We are very proud of everything the LBF stands for and achieves – none more so than this year. As a firm fixture in the annual business calendar, the Festival has not only been cited as playing an integral part in the region’s economic recovery plan, but it has also been hailed the largest digital business festival in the country – a truly brilliant accolade.”
The LBF continues to exist due to the outstanding support from its partners and sponsors, most of whom willingly came forward, wishing to get involved.
Helen Donnellan, Director of Business Engagement at DMU, said: “This year’s festival has demonstrated the resilience, innovation and collaborative spirit that businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire have shown throughout this pandemic.
“This year's Leicester Business Festival has allowed us to send that message wider than ever.”
The LBF was originally established by the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) in 2015 to help businesses to learn and develop their entities, share information, and ultimately grow, whilst also placing the region in the spotlight to encourage investment interest. It became a Community Interest Company in its own right in 2017.
It is run in association with Associate Events, and in addition to headline partner, DMU, other partners include: East Midlands Chamber; Business Gateway Growth Hub. The sponsors are Brewin Dolphin; Pattersons Commercial Law and the University of Leicester and supporters are: Everards Brewery; Leicester Castle Business School (DMU); Bradgate Estates, IOD, PPL & PRS, Highcross Leicester, British Business Bank (Midlands Engine Investment Fund), BID Leicester, Novotel, Leicester Comedy Festival, The Lionheart Trust, FSB, Digital Ethos and Team Leicester. The media partners are Metro News and the App partner is Infonote.
For more information visit the LBF website at www.leicesterbusinessfestival.com or call 0116 464 5995.