By Max Clarke

As the UK retail sector struggles with rising commodity prices and major household names announce administration, Britain's £4.6 billion motorsport industry is reinforcing its credentials as a key sector by unveiling plans for International Motorsport Business Week.

The week, which takes place on 9-15 January 2012, brings together a sequence of focused networking opportunities with major industry figures, through a series of symposiums, conferences and seminars centred on the business side of international motorsport. Key speakers to have featured previously at the event include Formula One Group CEO Bernie Ecclestone, ex-FIA President Max Mosley and Lord Drayson, former UK Minister for Science and Innovation.

Initiatives such as the UK Trade & Investment Business Exchange, a platform for one-to-one business meetings between international visitors and UK suppliers, offer figures within the industry the opportunity to make new contacts and talk to key decision-makers, as well as giving motorsport newcomers an in-road into this highly lucrative sector.

The week culminates with Autosport International, a dedicated trade show at the Birmingham NEC, UK, where businesses involved in the motorsport industry travel from across the globe to exhibit their latest products and meet both existing and potential clients. The show provides the perfect networking opportunity for those involved or aiming to get involved in the fast-paced industry, before it is opened to the public for two days, to offer race fans a behind the scenes look at the world of motorsport.

International Motorsport Business Week 2012 will combine business-focussed activities with seminars addressing topical issues in motorsport, such as safety and the environment. This includes the MIA's 'Low Carbon' Racing Conference, Race Tech's World Motorsport Symposium for engineers and the Motorsport Safety Fund's world-renowned 'Watkins Lecture'.