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March has traditionally been a super busy month at Social as we support our clients with their communications requirements around MIPIM – the international property event (usually) held every March in Cannes, France. Whilst international travel and busy conferences seem a distant memory at the moment, I think we’ll see MIPIM come back with a bang in 2022 – and indeed even earlier, with the announcement last week that Reed MIDEM will be hosting a smaller MIPIM conference in Cannes on 7-8 September this year. Time will tell what appetite there will be, particularly from the public sector, for an event coming so soon after travel restrictions are lifted.

What is clear though is that the property industry is missing its annual get-together, and some really interesting events have sprung up to help fill the gap. At Social, we like to have our finger on the pulse in terms of all things property, planning and place, so we’ve taken a look at some of the fantastic, alternative trade and investment-themed activity that’s happening across the country this week:

Pan-Northern

The BusinessDesk.com’s Invest North event is perfectly timed, and is set to examine how the North can best move forward and accelerate post-COVID recovery. The event, which will take place on 24 March, offers an agenda packed with insight, analysis and original research that will make for an inspiring and informative event, particularly for MIPIM’s usual northern delegates that would normally be navigating their way around the Palais right about now.

A Pan-Northern theme runs through the agenda, one that had until recent years been missing among the individual northern city region exhibitions. The day’s highlights include discussions around the North’s relationship with global markets, delivered by former Northern Powerhouse minister and leader of the parliamentary Northern Research Group, Jake Berry; renowned economist Lord Jim O’Neill; and appearances by Northern metro mayors, Andy Burnham, Jamie Driscoll, Ben Houchen and Dan Jarvis, who will discuss their long-term strategies and the future of a devolved North. Our client, the NP11, is also set to play an exciting role in the event, with chair Roger Marsh OBE DL leading a session on achieving generational change in the North alongside Britishvolt’s Chief Strategy Officer Isobel Sheldon.

Long may this pan-Northern collaboration continue!

Yorkshire

In Yorkshire, we have the inaugural West Yorkshire Innovation Festival. Created by the West Yorkshire Innovation Network and coordinated by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the week-long festival will showcase innovation across the region by bringing businesses together and sharing expertise, resources and support through virtual events including masterclasses, workshops and roundtable discussions.

Open to businesses, individuals, creatives, academics, entrepreneurs, SMEs, start-ups and anyone who has an interest in understanding how things can be done differently and better to make positive changes through innovation, the event feels like it would be well-placed on the traditional Leeds City Region MIPIM agenda.

The inaugural Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF), is being hailed as the new MIPIM in regional press. With a stellar line up and excitement building across Leeds City Region, this event is definitely one to watch. The event, which will take place in Leeds in May 2022, is supported by the British Property Federation and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Regeneration and Development as well as developers and local authorities and aims to attract inward investment, generate economic growth, and drive a more sustainable and inclusive culture within the property and construction industries. Royal Armouries and Leeds Dock will be the main area for the indoor and outdoor event, with more than 50 fringe events happening across the city.

There will also be tours of key development and investment sites across the region for those looking to develop and invest in Yorkshire.

The Built Environment Network are hosting monthly webinars in the run-up to the annual event in May 2022 – the first of these will take place on Wednesday 17 March 2021.

Greater Manchester

Having exhibited in Cannes for over 20 years, Greater Manchester is using its experience as a significant contributor to MIPIM to help lead the way through a programme of digital events in lieu of the physical showcase.

First up, Marketing Manchester, part of the Manchester Growth Company and organisers of Manchester at MIPIM, will be hosting an event on ‘European Tourism to Greater Manchester after EU Exit’ – an extremely pertinent topic and one that would no doubt have been a leading theme in Cannes.

Place North West usually has a very prominent presence at MIPIM, so it’s no shock that it is hosting a variety of events during this week. Key events include the FBE Manchester: Homes, Community & Placemaking and PlaceTech Talks Residential, both of which aim to shine a light on good residential design, placemaking and housing sector resilience with a host of high profile speakers.

Insider Media will be hosting a virtual event titled ‘Business for the New Reality’, which forms part of the #InsiderFutureProofing programme, a week of targeted regional events across both the North and South. The event will explore themes including strategies, structures, leadership, funding growth, building sustainable businesses and motivating and communicating with staff, customers and stakeholders throughout changing times.

Liverpool

In a similar way to its neighbour, Manchester, Liverpool City Region has had a long and prosperous history at MIPIM. The region has found itself at the heart of major investment over the past few years. With its huge projects and successes in numerous areas including the Destination Bootle project in Sefton and Wirral Waters in Birkenhead, the region continues to draw in investors and developers that are helping to regenerate areas where people want to live, work and play.

The Built Environment Network’s ‘Future Development Plans’ event, which will take place in April, focuses on the future investment, development and regeneration opportunities in the pipeline across the Liverpool City Region. The event, which sees speakers from the Caddick Group’s Moda Living, National Museums Liverpool, Clarke Energy and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, aims to provide insight into some of the many game-changing schemes and projects coming forward. There will also be opportunities to take part in an interactive Q&A with networking areas available to continue conversations.

South West

As the nation looks towards recovery, the South West’s focus on high-value manufacturing, sustainability-driven food and drink producers and cutting-edge digital tech will play a major role in kick-starting the UK economy. As part of the Insider Media #InsiderFutureProofing programme, Insider will also deliver an event focusing upon how businesses can build back better across the South West, bringing together leaders who have discovered the powers of resilience, recovery and opportunity throughout the pandemic.

What next?

The postponement of MIPIM 2021 was, of course, essential and has allowed time for pause and reflection. There is no doubt that regions across the UK will be reviewing their future involvement in MIPIM however, for now, these online events will help to give partners a voice until the time is right to meet face-to-face once again.

The sheer quantity of sector events taking place across the next few weeks and as we approach MIPIM in September is a real testament to the way in the property sector has adapted to communicate digitally over the past year, continuing to provide insight and address key issues and ambitions. Online events provide the opportunity for a much clearer focus on collaboration across regions – a theme that we hope to see strengthened at the live event in September 2021 and beyond.

With so many effective digital events on offer, some may ask: is a face-to-face event really needed?

But for me, that truly international, face-to-face event format continues to be greatly valuable, and something which I’m confident many people will continue to look ahead to in anticipation in years to come. Bringing delegates from many different countries together in one place, all focused on the same subject matter, is a proven way to cement relationships and establish a real sense of ‘in-this-togetherness.’ I personally have developed some fantastic networks from my time attending MIPIM, and witnessed first-hand the productive conversations take place that simply wouldn’t have happened online or back home.

It will be interesting to see the take-up for March 2022 but my prediction is that many regions will be coming back with a bang and persuading their partners once again that “yes, it is work!”.

I look forward to seeing you there!

The scheduled calendar of key upcoming MIPIM events are:

  • MIPIM Leaders’ Perspective Summit – digital only – 16-18 March 2021
  • MIPIM September Edition – Cannes – hybrid special event – 07-08 September 2021
  • MIPIM 2022 – Cannes – 15-18 March 2022

If you’d like to find out more about how Social provides support at MIPIM, please contact Leeds MD Pete Wrathmell at pete.wrathmell@social.co.uk.