Business Services Trip to the UK - Liverpool International Festival for Business (IFB)

The Business Services Team in the UK with their OBN counterparts at the South Yorkshire International Trade Centre.



In the 3rd week of July the whole business services team accompanied by a delegation from Singapore – comprising representatives from our members Ascendas and Mazars, the Singapore Business Federation, and Rajah and Tan – travelled back to the UK for the IFB and meetings in Leyland, Leeds and Sheffield. The meetings were aimed at encouraging UK businesses to explore opportunities in Singapore and South East Asia.


Day one kicked off with a presentation and one to one networking event at Leyland titled ‘Doing Business in South East Asia’, organised by the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. During the presentation, delegates from the various South East Asian markets took turns to present and speak about the numerous opportunities in their respective markets. This was followed by a short Q&A session which saw the panel comprising representatives from each of the markets answering questions from the floor. A one to one networking session concluded the event.


Day one ended with a networking event organised by Santander who warmly welcomed us on board their boat – the Kathleen and May – at Albert Dock. This was an excellent opportunity for the team to meet with their UKTI and BCC counterparts, and foster a closer working relationship.


Day two saw the team attend a full-day conference at the Rum Warehouse, a newly-opened facility that played host to the IFB activities for the week. Various groups comprising local market experts took turns to present on opportunities in the various regions – South America, South East Asia, China, America and Central and Western Europe. Henry Goodwin from our member Taylor Vinters provided an overview of doing business on Singapore while I was on the panel on Shipping and Marine and also conducted a presentation on the shipping sector in Singapore.


Wrapping up day two was the networking event titled ‘A Global Taste of Networking’ organised by the Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce. This event gave IFB delegates a chance to speak on a one to one basis with the conference speakers as well as with market experts from overseas chambers.


Day three comprised a full day of one to one networking activities back at the Rum Warehouse, where we had the chance to meet UK companies wishing to explore the Singapore market further. Our afternoon programme included an event organised by Barclays. Speakers covered topics ranging from the current and future state of the shipping industry in Liverpool, export considerations and corporate finance.


The day culminated in the gala dinner which gave all delegates the opportunity to further network with businesses and representatives from the world’s high-growth markets, and celebrate Merseyside’s popular culture and famous cultural exports, with tributes to the Beetles and both Everton and Liverpool football clubs.


Day four saw us bidding farewell to Liverpool, as we made our way to Leeds for an event hosted by Chamber International Leeds and one of our first OBNI-assisted companies Addleshaw Goddard. The Singapore delegates took turns to present and share insights about the Singapore markets and this was promptly followed by networking where we met UK companies wishing to explore business opportunities in Singapore.


On the fifth and final day, the team departed Leeds for Sheffield, where the Business Services team and Singapore delegation were given a tour of the AMP Technology Centre – boasting the likes of Boeing and Rolls Royce – and met representatives from the Rotherham Investment Office (RIDO) and Sheffield City Region Inward Investment. This was followed by a presentation which gave us an appreciation of the local government’s efforts to promote inward investment. We were also kindly given an in-depth tour of TWI’s premises. While the team was at the AMP Technology Centre, I visited Sheffield ForgeMasters, one of our first Business Services clients. I had a tour around their premises where Neil and Ian gave me a fascinating tour of their premises and I was able to see oil and gas platform components being forged. These were in the drawing and design phase when I met Sheffield Forgemasters last year. I also got to see their giant scorpion, an initiative which was developed through their innovative internship programme.


The week concluded with an event at The South Yorkshire International Trade Centre where 7 Overseas Business Networks (OBNs) – including ourselves – were present to meet local businesses keen on exploring overseas markets. A presentation by the respective OBNs followed by a one to one networking activity saw us meet various companies keen on exploring the Singapore market further.