Writing this blog gives me the chance to reflect on an exceptionally busy first couple of days at MIPIM, the world’s biggest property and real estate exhibition.
The headlines have you believe that this is a week-long party with champagne, yacht charters and excessive parties exemplifying the worst excesses of capitalism. Blogs like this one tend to counter this with tales of long arduous days locked in negotiations in windowless rooms thrashing out tedious details.
The truth lies somewhere in between the two. The helicopters, yachts and private lunches exist, and are no doubt well attended, but those of us serious about regeneration and development are filling their time with meetings and working hard on things that add real value.
MIPIM focuses the mind, it takes you out of your everyday work and gives you the space and time necessary to meet those it is often difficult to reach back home. For cities like Derby that is of critical importance as we compete with the other 63 UK cities and beyond.
At MIPIM you can meet those important gatekeepers to organisations more easily than anywhere else. Relationships are made at MIPIM that can lead, usually after years of work, to developments such as Jensco’s Friar Gate Square in Derby and, on a shorter timescale, to businesses deciding to locate in the city once they’ve got a feel for its momentum and economy.
Our Embassy event, which took place this morning was standing room only as a packed-out room heard about the progress being made on Derby’s city centre masterplan, alongside a keynote speech from Paul Harris, Director of Economic Development at Rolls Royce. This powerful combination of public sector regeneration momentum alongside globally-recognised private sector investment really does set Derby apart as a prosperous, high-growth location and, in a place like MIPIM, that counts.
My final point before I sign off and head out to the rest of my day (7 meetings, 2 conferences and, yes, a Midlands Engine drinks reception) is that, in my fourth year here, it is evident to me that MIPIM is an essential part of the inward investment calendar, and that Derby gets it right. MIPIM isn’t about the location, the yachts or “the show”. It’s about face-to-face contact, relationship-building and finding a way to promote your city on an international stage. Our focused approach, centring on collaboration in the Midlands Pavilion and a dedicated Derby breakfast event, works for us.