1,372 attend business festival

The 2021 Black Country Business festival saw a total attendance of 1,372 at its 80 events.

DUDLEY PIC MNA PIC  DAVID HAMILTON PIC  EXPRESS AND STAR 4/10/21 Speaking at the opening of Black Country Business Festival, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Corin Crane, at Cable Plaza, Brierley Hill..
DUDLEY PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC EXPRESS AND STAR 4/10/21 Speaking at the opening of Black Country Business Festival, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Corin Crane, at Cable Plaza, Brierley Hill..

The fourth annual festival came to a close on Friday with Black Country Chamber of Commerce chief executive Corin Crane saying it had shown what a "cool" and great place the region was to invest in and do business.

Average attendance at events – 45 of them digital only – was up 12.5 per cent on the 2020 festival. A total of 602 businesses were involved and on social media there were 255,186 engagements.

Of those attending events 29 per cent came from outside the Black Country with nine events sold out.

The festival, organised by Associate Events, ran from October 4 when it was launched at the Resonance music institute in Brierley Hill with 140 watching online.

Alister de Ternant, Associate managing director, said 85 per cent of people attending festival events said it had had a positive impact on them and their businesses.

He said the festival had achieved its aim of getting people in to the Black Country and promoting what was going on in and around the area.

Mr Crane said the festival would be returning in 2022, but dates had yet to be confirmed.

He urged more Black Country businesses to get involved as a festival partner or sponsor and to consider hosting their own event.

Mr Crane said the festival had been successfully completed to a back drop of an incredibly difficult time for UK business including supply chain issues, rising energy costs and HGV driver shortages.

Sponsors for the 2021 festival included law firm Talbots, Dudley foundry group Thomas Dudley, Dudley Business First and Walsall and Sandwell Councils.

The award first event to sell out went to Avalara and the Department for International Trade for its event aimed at omptimising exports with the Beacon centre winning the award for most impactful event. The Sedgley centre for the blind's event told the story of how the community rallied round to help it survive during the pandemic.

Express & Star Business Editor John Corser won the award for being most engaged person in the festival for his efforts to promote the festival and help make it a success.

"It's great to have you as a media partner. You are an absolute asset to the area who believes in the Black Country and the power of local business to transform the area," said Mr Crane.

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