The distribution & logistics sector will be a key area of focus at the Leicester Business Festival (LBF), which this year takes place between 24th October and 4th November.
Employing in excess of 51,000 people, 12% of all jobs in the region, Leicester and Leicestershire is one of the UK's leading players in the sector. With '95% of the UK's population being just four hours away from Leicester and Leicestershire by road' it is no wonder that the distribution & logistics sector in the region contributes around £3bn to the economy and even more when transport is included.
As a result, it boasts the national distribution centres for the likes of DHL and UPS – two of the world's top four air express freight operators. With continued investment and with a substantial amount of growth in the sector over the past three years, it is no surprise that this years' festival is focusing in on the sector.
The East Midlands is home to 20% of the UK's warehouse floor space, with Leicestershire having more warehouse area than Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire put together. Just short of 75% of the East Midlands' logistics operations are based in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.
With a 'Golden Triangle' of logistics and distribution activity in Leicestershire, including Magna Park – Europe's premier logistics location, the MIRA Technology Park and the area around Junction 21 of the M1, the area is also complemented by the airport's surrounding Enterprise Zone, East Midlands Enterprise Gateway.
Jack Kelly, Head of External Affairs at East Midlands Airport and sector lead for the festival, said: "Our transport and logistics sectors have a huge role to play in the future growth of our local, regional and national economy. The East Midlands has a strong reputation as a centre of excellence for logistics and home to the UK's busiest pure freight airport; we need to do more to capitalise and build on these strengths and the Leicester Business Festival plays a critical part in our collectively achieving this."
As visitors to the Leicester Business Festival will no doubt note, this thriving sector is supported by highly respected educational establishments such as The Sir Frank Whittle Studio School and the Stephenson College and Studio School which deliver science technology, engineering and maths (STEM) training to logistics trainees up to the age of 19 – putting the region at the forefront of the sector's development and a first choice for future investment opportunities.
Distribution & Logistics is just one of the nine sectors that are targeted for growth in the region and that will be showcased as part of this year's festival. The others being, Food & Drink Manufacturing, Textiles Manufacturing, Tourism & Hospitality, Sport & Health, Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing, Low Carbon, Professional & Financial Services, and Creative Industries.
As a by business for business event, the application process for this years' Festival is now up and running and a number of companies have already put themselves forward to host events including TEDX, the Institute of Directors (IoD), Big Difference Company, UKTI, LLEP Business Gateway, and The Exchange.
One of the region's top educational institutions De Montfort University have thrown their support behind the festival as headline sponsors. Also backing the festival as affiliate sponsors are Highcross Leicester, FSB, Aon, Lestercast, Qdos and the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.