MIPIM Blog - Lisa Cawdron, Willmott Dixon

Lisa Cawdron, account manager at Willmott Dixon, is heading to MIPIM – the world’s largest property event of its kind. Here, she talks about her second ever MIPIM – and just how to make the most of MIPIM 2017.

Where in the world can you mingle with A-list celebrities one week, international property players another week and adult film stars the next? Cannes, that’s where …

For a couple of weeks a year, the French coastal resort plays host to two very different events. Probably the most famous of them all is the Cannes International Film Festival. Since 1946, Hollywood’s elite, with their entourages in tow, has descended upon the town en masse for Tinseltown’s annual sojourn to the seaside (think the Oscars but with more sun, sea and sand).

And then there’s MIPIM. Not heard of it? It’s the international property conference which sees more than 23,000 delegates from across the world gather in Cannes for a frenetic four days of networking.

MIPIM is a conference like no other. The largest event of its type in the world, it’s not unusual to see Russian Oligarchs sharing the same seminar room as Turkish government officials, and Brazilian developers, all there to do one thing…business.

Once again, we have a presence at MIPIM this year. Myself and Richard Freeman, my West Midlands colleague, will be heading to MIPIM to network, speak to investors and developers – and to promote Adjuto, the innovative funding model for local authorities and public sector organisations.

In 2016 one thing that stood out during the four days was the emphasis being placed on collaboration. Strong relationships were being forged between public and private sectors, and we saw regions joining together too. Interestingly, in 2015, Leicester, Nottingham and Derby launched a ‘Three City’ partnership at MIPIM, with all three leaders of the city councils joining together. Over in neighbouring West Midlands, collaboration was also high on the agenda, with the Birmingham contingent banging the ‘Greater Birmingham’ drum.

In 2017, the Midlands will go a big step further – with the inaugural Midlands Pavilion. Right down on the sea front, and close to the Manchester pavilion and the huge London exhibition space, this year the East and West Midlands will be able to really show its collaboration.

This year is different. 2017 is the very first time that the East and West Midlands will come together as the Midlands Engine area – taking up residence in the first ever Midlands Pavilion.

It’s taken months and years of planning and has been given support by UKTI. The Midlands Engine has its own chairman Sir John Peace, who speaks fervently about the opportunities for the Midlands region

When the Midlands comes together under one roof this year, it will showcase £14 billion of investment opportunities and there will be almost 50 private and public sector partners, including Department for International Trade (DIT).

There will be ten Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and 49 private and public sector partners. Themes from the Midlands will range from the opportunities surrounding the Midlands’ connectivity offer – including the new High Speed 2 rail network – to the region’s Enterprise Zones, housing and commercial schemes.

Destination partners include Greater Birmingham (Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country), Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Coventry & Warwickshire LEP, D2N2 (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire), Greater Lincolnshire LEP, Leicester City Council and Leicester & Leicestershire LEP, SEMLEP; Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire, Telford & The Marches and Worcestershire.

The inaugural 200 sq m Midlands UK pavilion will contain an event space – featuring a programme of up to 50 presentations, panel discussions and receptions – and a networking area, plus separate sections for each destination partner.

Willmott Dixon is one of many principal sponsors of the Midlands Engine movement – and the Midlands Pavilion – and we are proud to put all our support behind this innovative approach to sell our region to investors and developers. Connectivity, collaboration and enterprise are the three main themes for the Midlands Pavilion.

Events at MIPIM may still not be as lavish as they were pre-recession, but what they lack in grandeur they more than make up for in creativity. Once again this year, among the dinners and the panel breakfasts and the investment discussions, there are the more quirky events. Lincolnshire’s brunch will feature its famous sausages, while Coventry will host a Question of Sport type quiz with the Wasps. Meanwhile, Nottingham’s guest speaker will be Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE, the Team GB Olympic gold medallist. Elsewhere, Pete Waterman will be getting passionate about HS2.

The feel good factor has returned to MIPIM over the last few years and in 2016, there was real confidence in Cannes, which hasn’t been seen for many years. Let’s not mention the ‘B’ word this year or indeed the ‘D’ word. Let’s simply crack on and support our talented region.

It may have its detractors but I still believe that MIPIM is a must. It’s a chance to meet those high profile people that you wouldn’t have a hope of meeting back in the UK. It’s also an opportunity to make a chance connection.