TOP CEOs and Celebrities join Act 1 of Liverpool City Region’s ‘Good Business Festival’

10th September 2020
  • Economist & presenter, Evan Davis and writer and director, Richard Curtis join line-up for The Good Business Festival

A host of leading UK business figures – and celebrities including Evan Davis and Richard Curtis – will feature in the first part of the Good Business Festival – set to start in Liverpool next month.

‘Act 1’ of the event, which will be a hybrid live and digital event, is set to begin on October 8, and as well as high-ranking business figures from Google, Mastercard and Oxfam, it will feature a host of celebrities.

They include Dragons Den star Mr Davis, Mr Curtis – one of the UK’s most successful comedy screenwriters, campaigner and entrepreneur Gina Miller, and former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio.

The host of senior business leaders from leading companies include:

  • Nishma Robb, Google
  • Ann Cairns, Mastercard
  • Douglas Lamont, Innocent
  • Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam
  • Frances O’Grady, TUC
  • John Sauven, Greenpeace
  • Sir Tim Smit, Eden Project
  • Ben Page, Ipsos MORI
  • Deb Oxley, Employee Ownership Association
  • “A string” of young activists including Camden Youth MP, Athian Akec

Commissioned by Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and curated by Culture Liverpool and Hemingway Design, the Good Business Festival will bring together some of the biggest names in business and society. They will debate the big issues facing a post-pandemic world and promoting purposeful, ethical and sometimes radical approaches to doing business.


Audiences will have three channels of content to choose from over the day:

  • Centre Stage – headline programming through the day from 10am to 9pm.
  • Good Thinking – sessions from experts offering inspiration and practical advice for SMEs, startups and individuals.
  • Open Source – a virtual workspace and resource library where content will be released throughout the day to support the live sessions with interviews, films, infographics, podcasts, supporting documents and exclusive reports.

Sessions will explore our learnings from this shared experience and consider the new directions the world will take as we emerge from the turbulence of 2020. Core festival sessions will include:

  • WTF Just Happened – a whistle-stop tour of key figures in business and society who’ll share their thought on what just happened to all of us, the effect this year has had on their own businesses and a positive look at what happens next.
  • 1.5% of UK business leaders are Black – bringing together black business leaders and change specialists to help identify how all of the good words of the last few months can translate into meaningful change for business.
  • Take Me to Your Leader – Australasia and North America – with New Zealand and Canada being hailed as the poster children for how to swiftly and effectively deal with crises, we ask – do we have to choose between governance led by compassion or economics? Does supporting social impact mean risking economic growth or can compassionate leadership boost not only GDP but health, happiness and national image?
  • What About The Workers? How to be a Good Employer – focusing on how businesses can remain good in a time of rapid change.
  • Raising the Game – focusing on the role of professional sport and sports business in society and what ‘good’ sport could look like.

Mayor Rotheram said: “The past few months have shown that we need to press the reset button on our economy. The Good Business Festival is the perfect platform to explore how we build back better and ensure our economy works for everyone.

“I’m determined to build the UK’s fairest, greenest and most inclusive local economy, which is why I commissioned the Good Business Festival and it is so exciting to have it here in the Liverpool City Region.

“Bringing together major international business and thought leaders the festival will be a unique platform to stimulate debate and formulate ideas that can help make the UK a worldwide leader in successful, ethical business.”

The festival hopes to unite the growing global community of businesses and conscious consumers who believe business can deliver meaningful positive change in society.

The two-act structure for the festival was conceived as a response to Covid-19, with ‘Act 1’ aimed at ensuring momentum “gained over a year of transformative change” isn’t lost.

The event will be filmed from ACC Liverpool plus certain locations in Toronto and Melbourne and broadcast online, with three channels for participants to choose from: ‘centre stage’, ‘good thinking’ and ‘open source’.

Other festival sessions include one on how to be a good employer, and another focusing on the role of professional sport and sports business in society.

‘Act 2’ will take place in March 2021 – a “year on from lockdown”, aiming to challenge businesses and consumers “to think bigger, galvanise ambition and continue to drive positive change” as recovery begins.

The ambassadors are both industry leaders and experts representing a diverse range of sectors, including Ann Cairns, executive vice chair of Mastercard, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief executive of Everton Football Club and Cephas Williams, founder of 56 Black Men.

Partners confirmed for the festival include Coca-Cola, Lush, Met Office, Nesta and Deloitte.

Claire McColgan, executive director of The Good Business Festival, said: “We’re proud to have Liverpool City Region as the backdrop for an international festival with such boundless ambition, creativity, and commitment to real change.

“The feedback so far has been incredible, and Act 1 will be the beginning of a movement that we hope will energise a new generation of people in business, as we redefine what the world of business, and society at large, looks like in the world of tomorrow.”

Evan Davis, economist and BBC presenter, added: “Business events need a fresh approach and would benefit from less pontificating and more purpose and outcomes. The Good Business Festival looks like it promises to shake things up and I will be there to hopefully help the festival achieve this”.




10th September 2020