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IBM AND HASTINGS SHOW CONFIDENCE IN THE LEICESTER BUSINESS COMMUNITY

The inaugural Leicester Business Festival in 2015 came at a time when confidence in the regional business community was ever-increasing, and next year’s event will further cement the city and county as a centre of business excellence. Just two of the major names to announce their investment in the city in recent times are world-renowned technology giant IBM and leading insurance firm Hastings Direct.

IBM set the target of creating 300 hi-tech jobs in Leicester when the US company opened IBM Services UK in temporary offices in the Leicester city centre. The quality of the graduates from the city and county’s three universities was a major factor in the firm deciding to establish itself in the area. The company’s next move will be to an office complex at 20-40 New Walk where they can continue to expand.

Backed by £3 million from Leicester City Council and a further £1 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, the business has also committed a multi-million pound sum to its move.

Bernard Szczech, chief executive of IBM Services Centre UK in Leicester, said: “The reasons we came to Leicester were because of the high quality workers that were available in Leicester, Leicestershire and the surrounding areas; the city is well-located in the country, which means it’s not far from the capital, and we have had a huge amount of support and help from the city council and the LLEP.”

Hastings Direct has also been investing in the city with the opening of a new call centre creating 230 new jobs with “plans for continued expansion” in 2016 and 2017. Again, the firm received £1 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to help finance the move.

Another firm with big ambitions for the future, Hastings has shown how big companies are putting their trust in Leicester as a place to grow and develop. The Leicester Business Festival aims to continue this buoyancy by showcasing the city and county’s range of businesses to the rest of the country and encouraging a close-knit business community through close working relationships.

Leicestershire is already blessed with an enviable balance between sectors making it the largest economy in the East Midlands, worth £19.4bn a year and the host to 33,000 businesses and 435,000 employees.

Returning bigger and better than last year, the Leicester Business Festival will aim to encourage even more businesses to get involved by hosting their own events or coming on board as sponsors. Nearly 7,000 people took part in the 80 events of last year’s festival, and both figures are expected to increase significantly this time around.

For more information on the Leicester Business Festival, the events taking place, or how to apply, please take a look at: www.leicesterbusinessfestival.com