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A world of opportunities in one place at International Business Festival 2018

FSB is taking centre stage alongside some of the world’s most influential business leaders at the International Festival of Business 2018, the world’s biggest international business festival which will take place in Liverpool from 12 – 28 June.

Supported by the Government through the GREAT Britain campaign and by its commercial partners British Airways and HSBC, the festival’s patron is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. It will host more than 40 major global events across 9 high growth sector themed days, providing attendees with knowledge, market insights and vital business connections across the UK and the globe.

Some 30,000 industry professionals are expected to attend and take advantage of a spectacular array of business opportunities. Whether exploring international and domestic market opportunities, enhancing product offerings or securing scale-up finance, the festival will be an enlightening and comprehensive gateway to future business growth.

FSB will play host to delegations from overseas trade bodies and business membership organisations, providing a platform for our members to increase international trade opportunities or export for the first time. 

We will follow the success of ‘From Northern Power House to Global Trade: Small businesses and the Global Trade Agenda,’ our event at the 2014 festival, with ‘Destination Export – Small Businesses as Strategic Exporters’ on Tuesday, 12 June – the first day of IBF2018. This major policy event will consider the challenges and opportunities of international trade for small firms.

FSB believes there is considerable potential for small businesses to participate in global trade but, to date, far too few UK firms have picked up the gauntlet despite clear evidence that international markets represent a real route to growth. 

In addition to exploring the barriers as well as potential of overseas markets for small businesses, and the role of exports in driving innovation and creating jobs, growth and investment, FSB’s event will provide practical information, guidance and support on how to become a global business.

It will build on the valuable work already being done to help more small businesses embrace exporting, creating a community of FSB member exporters and lobbying government on provision of services which best support SME’s and FSB members.

The event will feature a senior government minister as keynote speaker, alongside a host of other speakers and panellists including industry experts and small business exporters who will tell their stories with the aim of inspiring delegates to embrace international markets themselves. 

IBF2018 will take place shortly after the Government is expected to publish its new export strategy. FSB also has a wealth of research on small businesses and international trade, all of which will fuel the debate and discussion.
Subjects to come under the spotlight include:

•  ‘Think Small First?’ - National and international policy on overseas trade;

•  How small businesses can benefit from current and upcoming global trade deals;

•  The impact of Brexit on global trade;

•  Overseas procurement and how to become part of global supply chains;

•  Taking the first step – where to go and what do;

•  Industry support now and in the future;

•  How small businesses can access export finance;

•  Overcoming barriers to international trade (including forex, language and cultural barriers, distribution, finding customers and marketing and promotion).

IBF2018 takes place at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool, located at the heart of the city’s world-famous waterfront. FSB will be based at the heart of the festival’s International Marketplace, showcasing FSB member benefits to a highly-engaged audience which is seeking future opportunities, including business people from across the UK, in addition to domestic and international buyers and investors.

The future of business is a central theme of the 2018 International Business Festival and its main stage will host some of the world’s most influential business leaders discussing the most important issues of here and now. The centre of the Festival experience, the Futures Stage, will host industry experts and thought leaders from a range of high-growth sectors, covering everything from manufacturing to life sciences to the creative industries. 

The Futures Stage will host an array of global innovators and influencers including: Wayne Hemingway MBE, Designer and founder of Red or Dead; Amanda Murphy, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC; Jurgen Maier, Managing Director, Siemens; Cherie Blair CBE QC, lawyer, women’s rights campaigner and Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI.

Topics up for discussion will reflect the diversity of the festival and the business world. Audiences will hear Anthony Behan of the Artificial Intelligence Unit at IBM discuss how businesses can embrace artificial intelligence. BBC Business Editor Simon Jack will explore the productivity puzzle and Stefan Stern, Director of the High Pay Centre, will look at the role of human workers in the economy of tomorrow.

The Festival has enabled more than half a billion pounds in trade and investment since it launched in 2014, and the last edition of the event helped some 500 UK companies secure exports worth in excess of £87 million at the 2016 event. These credentials, paired with the calibre of speakers confirmed across a diverse range of sectors, make the Festival a must-attend event for SMEs looking to grow.

Delegates will be inspired by success, learn from industry leaders how to turn challenges into opportunities as well as sharpen their skills and find out how to develop focused, high-performance teams. 

What’s more, for a limited period FSB members can access an exclusive 30% discount on day tickets and festival passes by emailing or for a special code. Join FSB at the world’s biggest business event this summer by registering here: