By Claire West

Britain’s business champions and prominent entrepreneurs have pledged their support for the International Festival for Business 2014, as the first Ambassadors are announced today.

IFB Ambassadors include:

• John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses
• Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive, Manchester City Council
• Lord Derby, owner Knowsley estate and Safari Park
• Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of Home Civil Service and Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government
• Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO, Tesco
• Phil Orford MBE, Chief Executive, Forum of Private Business
• Russ Shaw, Founder, Tech London Advocates

Also joining the Ambassadors are a group of founder CEOs of some of the UK’s fastest growing entrepreneurial businesses, including Paul Lindley, CEO, Ella’s Kitchen®, the multi-award winning baby food brand, Henrietta Lovell, Founder of the Rare Tea Company, which was named best online retailer at the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2009, and Julie Deane, Founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, the award winning business that in just five years is turning over £12m and employing over 90 people.

They join leading business organisations in their support of the festival, including the British Chambers of Commerce, UKTI, the Confederation of British Industry and UK Business Angels Association.

Building on recent figures from the Office for National Statistics that showed Britain exported a record £78.4bn of goods between April and June, the IFB will play a crucial role in achieving the government’s ambition to promote economic growth, rebalance the economy and double UK exports by 2020.

Fifty events attracting 75,000 delegates have already been confirmed for next year’s festival, and with ten months left to go, there is expected to be more than a hundred world-class events running back-to-back in June and July 2014.

IFB 2014 will be a global showcase for great British industries and sectors and will connect UK businesses to new markets, new products and new partners.

It will be the key date in the UK and international business calendar and will be an opportunity for those businesses accelerating in their sector to show what they are doing to boost economic growth.

The festival will focus on key areas of commerce that are transforming the business landscape of Britain and beyond, including: manufacturing, science & technology; maritime, logistics & energy; knowledge, professional & financial services; higher & further education & research; low carbon & renewables; cities, enterprise & urban business; knowledge, creative & digital.

Max Steinberg CBE, Chair of IFB 2014, said:

“The International Festival for Business will be a fantastic opportunity to position Britain as a global business force. It will champion everything that is great about British industry and will enable business leaders to forge lasting international connections.

“With the backing of the UK government and such reputable business leaders, IFB is set to follow the legacy of the London Games to be the greatest global showcase of 2014.”

John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“It’s vital that Britain’s small businesses receive the encouragement they need to start operating internationally. Next year’s International Festival for Business will play an important role in selling Great Britain and its businesses to the world.”

Phil Orford MBE, Chief Executive, Forum of Private Business, commented:

“Britain plays an important role on the global stage and initiatives that celebrate Great British industry are vital to highlight its prominent position. That is why I’m supporting the International Festival for Business, which will be a fantastic showcase of all that Britain has to offer.”