PROSPER MAGAZINE: ISSUE 01 | BLACK COUNTRY BUSINESS FESTIVAL
THE BLACK COUNTRY BUSINESS FESTIVAL
ONE OF THE COUNTRY'S LARGEST BUSINESS EVENTS COMPLETES A SECOND SUCCESSFUL YEAR
After two exceptionally busy and very exciting weeks, the 2019 Black Country Business Festival fortnight came to a close with a record number of events and huge footfall from the region’s business community.
Following two exceptionally busy and very exciting weeks, regional businesses celebrated the success of this year’s event closing event held at the Black Country Living Museum. The second edition of the Festival saw nearly 4000 attendees over a packed fortnight in May attending 113 events - with nearly a quarter of all taking part in activities throughout the Festival coming from outside the region.
At the closing event, The University of Wolverhampton won the ‘Most Engaged’ award for running 13 brilliant events, producing their own mini-Festival brochure, creating a dedicated web page and for being proactive on social media.
The ‘Best Creative Event’ went to ‘Barry Potter and the Chamber of Commerce’ run by Flying Ducks; whilst the Black Country Housing Group won the ‘Best Social Impact’ award for their event, ‘A Rich Source of Talent’, which aimed to show the employable skills of ex-forces personnel.
The final award, ‘Most in Demand’, went to the Grand Theatre for their ‘Public Speaking with Confidence’ event which filled up so quickly that more tickets needed to be made available.
Stand-out statistics of the 2019 Festival included an incredible marketing reach of nearly 60 million and 302,000 social media impressions. Over 1000 different businesses were involved and 87% saying that the Business Festival had a positive impact on them or their business.
The Festival was initiated in 2018 by the Chamber to benefit the people and businesses in the Black Country; stimulate growth and shine a spotlight on regional successes.
Chamber Chief Executive, Corin Crane said, “We enjoyed an amazing fortnight of brilliant events once again this year. Witnessing everything from speed networking, expos, creative and cultural demonstrations to factory showroom tours and various sporting networking days. We welcomed the heads of the country’s top business support organisations, leading AI legal futurists, the Department for International Trade and. ..Barry Potter! It just doesn’t get any better than that!
“In all seriousness, events this year have been mind-blowing - and 98% of people agreed, having rated the events they attended as good to excellent. We’re also seeing new people with 58% telling us they have not been to a business event in the last six months.
“So, from the Chamber’s perspective, the Festival is doing everything we wanted it to and more.
“So much so, we’re already making plans for next year’s festival and we want everyone to join us and start thinking about how they can get involved.”
One way to become an integral part of the Festival is through partnering or sponsoring.
This year’s headline partner was on-line retailer, eBay, which launched its first UK, ‘Retail Revival’ scheme in Wolverhampton in November 2018 to help local retailers to start trading online to complement their existing shops.
Rob Hattrell, Vice President at eBay UK, said, “This year’s Black Country Business Festival has been fantastic. It’s been a truly enlightening event that’s been great for local entrepreneurs and businesses in the region.
“During the Festival, eBay opened the doors to its first ever UK concept store in Wolverhampton, where we showcased the products of some of the brilliant local sellers participating in our Retail Revival programme.
“eBay takes great pride in nurturing local businesses and the pop-up ‘Home Grown by Wolverhampton’ gave visitors the ability to connect and learn more about their local retailers, whilst demonstrating the positive impact the programme has already had in helping these businesses flourish.
“We’ve loved partnering with this thriving region and are excited to build on this success and to see what we can achieve over the next six months.”
Partners for this year’s Festival included: DY5 – Dudley’s Business and Innovation Enterprise Zone, Talbots Law, the University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham Airport, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and Black Country Growth Hub.
Sponsors for the Festival were Casino 36 and M6 Toll. Supporters were Wolverhampton Racecourse; accountancy firm, Crowe; Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Think Sandwell, Gecko Programmes and Walsall Council. Media partners have been Signal 107, the Express and Star, outdoor media experts, Elonex and Infonote Datasystems.