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Business & Economy

North East business festival returns

A North East business festival is set to return for a second time in October.

Sunderland Business Festival, which ran for the first-time last year, aims to inspire enterprises from across the region, with a host of engaging speeches and sessions from high profile business leaders.  The event, which comprises a range of sessions – most of which are completely free to attend – will take place from the October 12–14 at venues across Sunderland.

The action-packed programme will include a jobs fair, expert presentations, panel discussions, ‘on the sofa’ discussions with industry leaders and a meet the buyer event.

Topics and sectors covered during the festival will include film and media; leisure and hospitality; start up and scale up; export; automotive and advanced manufacturing and more.

The festival is being organised by Sunderland Business Partnership, a collective of organisations – large and small – all with an interest in the city’s development, creating opportunities for members to collaborate and grow, which in turn helps Sunderland to be a more dynamic destination for business.

Ellen Thinnesen, chair of Sunderland Business Partnership and chief executive of Education Partnership North East, which includes Sunderland College, said: “It’s great to be able to bring Sunderland Business Festival back for a second year. Last year’s event was the first of its kind in the city and the feedback was very positive.

“We are sure that this year’s event – which will be in-person, rather than the virtual format of last year – will build on the success of the first festival and, we’re sure, have an even greater impact

“Sunderland and the wider area has a vibrant business community and events like this shine a spotlight on that.  We hope this is an event that will grow and grow as the city transforms and becomes home to more and more ambitious businesses.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural festival in 2021 had a mix of in-person and virtual events. This year’s festival will be all in-person and take place at venues across the city over the three days to showcase some of the fantastic venues it has to offer.

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, a key supporter of the festival, said: “It’s a hugely exciting time for Sunderland, with huge levels of investment being attracted to the city, all of which is going to have a hugely positive impact. We’re keen to showcase the great things that are already happening in Sunderland and also highlight the opportunities there are going to be in the future.”

More details of the line-up of the festival will be released over the coming weeks, with nationally significant business leaders set to take part.

To keep up to date with the latest news on the Sunderland Business Festival sign up to the mailing list on the event’s website or follow @sunderlandBP on Twitter.