Farewell to festival which changed landscape for how Sheffield does business

A festival that has meant business for Sheffield over the past eight years and changed the landscape for how the city was perceived by investors and influencers alike will not be returning to the city next year.

Sheffield City Council has made the decision to end MADE after eight years which they say have been highly successful – but that the needs of the wider business community have changed.

The contract to deliver the festival with organisers BE Group came to an end after this year’s festival. Although smaller events may be staged using the MADE branding, there will be no more large-scale events bearing the name from 2019 onwards.

Sheffield City Council say that the city’s festival calendar has evolved massively since MADE was established in 2010.

Meanwhile. thousands of delegates have come to the city to hear from celebrity speakers such as Peter Jones, Michelle Mone, Wayne Hemmingway, Levi Roots and Jamal Edwards.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “This is a festival that has really worked for Sheffield, its businesses and the wider international community. It has changed the landscape for how the city is perceived by investors and influencers alike and featured some of the most inspirational entrepreneurial speakers of the last 10 years. Many of whom have returned for successive years.

“When MADE first began there were very few successful events running in the city which met the needs of the business community and in particular fuelled the entrepreneurial spirit that was growing in Sheffield, but now we have a wealth of organisations working in this space and looking to meet the needs of our individual sectors.”

Other successful events are running throughout the city. Last month’s Showcase Sheffield, organised by the Sheffield Chamber, attracted 700 people. Vibrant Sheffield, and events held by companies such as Sheffield Digital, are also making a difference.

MADE’s core principle was about supporting and inspiring businesses on a large scale during a time where the entrepreneur was king.
During this time support in the city, through organisations such as Business Sheffield and the increased business focus of Sheffield’s two world-leading universities has changed hugely.

Business Sheffield offers a year-round programme of workshops for start-ups, a team of growth advisors for larger scale business to scale up and also two new Tech Scale Up advisors who work with established tech businesses and tech start-ups that with the right support can test their idea, introduce to investment etc. Business Sheffield’s quarterly networking events are now a must attend for many businesses in the city.

Big business events for the city have also been taken up by other organisations in the city such as the Chamber’s Showcase Sheffield B2B Expo which has seen huge growth for its 2018 event last month and was supported by Business Sheffield. There were 863 people through the doors throughout the day making it the largest business to business exhibition across the Sheffield City Region. Key themes were increasing international trade, encouraging innovation and building further links with China. As well as providing a platform for businesses to showcase their products and services to potential buyers and suppliers.

Richard Wright, director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “Getting an events programme correct for a city like Sheffield which has high aspirations is critical. It is relatively easy to come up with an event, or even multiple events, but the really hard part is ensuring they remain relevant as the world around us changes, that they give value for money, and that they are focused on real objectives that align with the city’s economic strategy.”

“MADE was set up to establish Sheffield as a centre of excellence in enterprise and entrepreneurship. Now events like our own Showcase Sheffield have been set up to both help local businesses trade with each other, but also to help them trade in our changing world.”

Paul Houghton, Partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP said: “We set up “#VibrantSheffield Live! to bring a hugely diverse group of leaders and influencers together to help shape a more vibrant economy for the city and wider region.

“We wanted to ensure that delegates went away both proud of their city and region because they’re better informed about great stuff going on and committed to making new things happen.”

Nicki Clark, CEO of BE Group said: “We are really proud of what the broader partnership including sponsors, speakers and of course delegates have achieved with MADE. Over four years more than 5,000 entrepreneurs, including budding local entrepreneurs from the Universities and Sheffield College, have been inspired to succeed. We look forward to continuing to be a part of supporting and inspiring entrepreneurial people and businesses across Sheffield and beyond.”

The next #VibrantSheffield Live! Is on 14 February 2019 next year.

If you’ve enjoyed attending or connecting with MADE over the years, then you can subscribe for free to BQ Live, which continues to celebrate and inspire entrepreneurship across Sheffield and the wider UK. Visit www.bqlive.co.uk and sign up.