Businesses must embrace “fantastic” opportunity Tour De France gives region to showcase skills and innovation

How Meadowhall Way will look during le Tour de France
How Meadowhall Way will look during le Tour de France
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The English Institute of Sport in Sheffield will never have seen so much business.

The programme for the two-day Grand Depart International Festival has almost been finalised with wall-to-wall events at the venue in Attercliffe on July 3 and July 4.

The latest addition to the roster - and ‘centre piece’ - is Innovation Expo which will showcase 30 leading businesses from the region, using innovative and interactive exhibits.

With the festival expecting to attract major international investors, customers and suppliers, the two-day event aims to throw a spotlight on pioneers in sport and healthcare technologies, advanced manufacturing and engineering and the creative and digital industries.

They include Sheffield Hallam University, Performance & Engineering Solutions, Beckett MIM, the AMRC, Fripp Design, JRI Orthopaedics, Magtech and Sheffield Precision Medical.

Aongside the Expo and a programme of specialist seminars, lectures and demonstrations, Creative Sheffield’s Global Networking Lounge aims to help people make new contacts and share ideas. All events are free.

Mark Robson, regional director of organisers UKTI, is urging the local business community to embrace and support the Sheffield leg of the business festival.

He said: “The Grand Depart provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and leadership that has put local companies at the forefront of the global race. We’re determined to deliver a flagship business spectacle befitting the arrival of the world’s largest annual sporting event.

“Many local companies already have plans in place to bring clients or potential customers over for the race, and there will be unique opportunities to network and gain expert insight. That is the foundation of the legacy programme we are striving to deliver.”

The festival will kick off on July 3 with the South Yorkshire Chambers’ Conference for Growth from 8am in the Badminton Hall. It aims to allow delegates to understand the growth plans and strategies of Local Enterprise Partnership and what the private sector can do to support it.

In the Athletes’ Lounge, from 11am-2pm, UKTI is to stage ‘Get On Yer Bike And Export’.