Behind the scenes of first pilot in-person event at ACC Liverpool

There was "nothing more important" that the venue could be doing than helping the industry to recover, says ACC Liverpool’s managing director Faye Dyer.

A wave of excitement, euphoria and then exhaustion swept over Liverpool as the UK government-backed pilot scheme notched a huge success with the launch event of The Good Business Festival.

When asked what it felt like to see people walking into venues again Dyer said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic, quite emotional actually, hearing people’s footsteps, laughter and chattering.

“The atmosphere was absolutely electric. Everyone has been so excited and so positive to be able to get back to some face-to-face contact.”

The one-day event kicked off with the Change Business for Good launch and the first pilot in-person live business event in the UK.

The main festival on 7 – 9 July will see leaders from across industries meet to work on solving the biggest challenges that the UK faces after the Covid-19 crisis.

Wayne Hemingway MBE, creative director, The Good Business Festival, said: “Business and business leaders have the power to tackle the biggest problems in our society and Covid-19 has demonstrated that some businesses are walking the walk in this respect - though there are still plenty merely talking the talk."

The event partners include Google, B Lab and Innocent, who are offering training and support for start-ups and the community.

Google will be offering digital skills training through Digital Garage, while L’Oréal UK and Ireland is launching the L’Oréal Beauty Tech For Good Challenge to find and support the UK and Ireland’s most innovative start-ups.

Innocent will be running The Big Grow from an allotment at Knowsley Safari, an initiative to get kids growing their own veg at school, helping thousands of schools to get free growing resources.

Claire McColgan MBE, director of culture Liverpool said: “The crisis has given us an opportunity to think about the kind of world we want to live in and there can be no return to business as usual.”

The launch was part of the UK Government’s pilot events, a science-led Events and Research Programme (ERP) with lateral flow testing before and after the event, and without any vaccine certification.

The aim was to get audiences back safely as restrictions are gradually eased. There were discussions about how health, growth and social recovery are intrinsically linked to business as we move out of lockdowns.

It also looked at how businesses can “drive future success without returning to old habits” that harm our environment.

Frank Rogers, chief executive, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has dealt a hammer blow to people and businesses across our region and around the world but, with the rollout of vaccines gathering pace, there is now hope that the end is in sight.”

With the UK hosting COP26 in Glasgow in November later this year, The Good Business Festival will also examine the climate crisis.

The festival programme will focus on sustainable and ethical recovery and resilience. It is Covid-secure with social distancing, sanitising and deep cleaning in place where required.