ACC Liverpool hosted the UK’s first business festival since national lockdown began in March 2020 on 28 April.
The Good Business Festival’s launch event, Change Business for Good, was the first in-person live business event to take place without covid measures in place, informing research to examine transmission, aerosol and contact risks in a medium-sized indoor venue.
The conference was part of the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) – a science-led initiative to get audiences back safely as restrictions are gradually eased.
Delegates were required to take a lateral flow test within 24 hours prior to attending and were encouraged to take a free at-home PCR test on the day of the event and also five days afterwards.
Around 400 guests heard from a series of speakers including Nigel Huddleston, tourism minister; Felicia Odamtten, founder and director of Black Economy Network and Wayne Hemingway, creative director of The Good Business Festival.
Sharmadean Reid, entrepreneur and founder of WAH Nails and Beautystack, appeared alongside Paul Mason, award winning journalist and author.
The event closed with a ‘Live at the Apollo’ style show featuring comedians Mick Ferry, Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-Mclean.
Faye Dyer, managing director of The ACC Liverpool Group, said: “Change Business for Good felt like a truly pivotal moment as we aim to return to hosting business events as soon as it is safe to do so. We were thrilled to be chosen to host the government’s only business event pilot and to be playing a significant role in this important step towards the reopening of our industry.
“We have all adapted to a new landscape over the past year but nothing can replace face to face meetings. It was wonderful for delegates to be able to attend in person and fully interact during this milestone conference.”
The pilot launched The Good Business Festival main event taking place from July 7 – 9. Commissioned by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, the festival will be a platform for consumers and leaders to come together and explore the powerful potential of business to improve lives, deliver meaningful change and realise a purpose beyond profit. Official event partners include MasterCard, British Council, Deloitte and Google Digital Garage.
Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston said: “As the first live, in-person business event that has taken place in the UK this year – this is an important landmark in the recovery of the sector from the pandemic – and everyone involved should feel proud about the part they are playing.”
The festival is curated by Culture Liverpool and creative agency Hemingway Design, with a focus on uniting business, civil society and consumers in a collective effort to tackle the biggest challenges facing our world.
Claire McColgan MBE, director of Culture Liverpool, said: “In the Liverpool City Region we’re committed to building the fairest, greenest, and most inclusive economy in the UK. Today’s launch of ‘Change Business for Good’ is the business world’s wake-up call. A chance to listen, learn and make a change for the better.”
Wayne Hemingway MBE, creative director, The Good Business Festival, added: “Today is an exciting day as we continue the Good Business Festival’s aim of working with businesses to play a role in creating a fairer society. Change Business for Good will mark the start of our return to normal life, with consumers and leaders coming together to explore the powerful potential of businesses to improve lives, deliver meaningful change and realise a purpose beyond profit.”