50 days of Festival Time

Reflecting on the Liverpool Festival for Business #IFB2014Liverpool Waterfront


The first event that I attended for the Festival was “Fresh Business Thinking”. When I arrived I sat down to read the programme and plot my movements through the exhibition, and Immediately two gentlemen sat down next to me and offered to buy me a coffee as we chatted. I warmed to them at this uncommon friendliness. It turned out that they were businessmen from Afganistan with plans for a food business on Merseyside. I felt this was a delightful personal introduction to the big aims of the International Festival for Business. One of the great strengths of Liverpool through history has been the welcoming of people from all nations.

The themes of the festival have been our backdrop as we prayed for the city, for businesses and business people. As we prayed for international connections and Liverpool’s role as a gateway for the UK we met with leaders from around the world, including Sri Lanka and Alabama USA. The business that I am part of, Global BioDiagnostics has a plan to serve the world with a breakthrough test process for Tuberculosis, and so the daily prayer for the nations has had a personal perspective as well as a grand visionary aspect.

During the ‘communications’ week our business team delighted to see articles published in three major publication, the most significant being Nature magazine. Another immediate reminder of the importance of the amazing world of communication, where the technology is astonishing, but we do still need to have a message. A very important part of why we began these 7 weeks of morning prayers for the Festival is that we are passionate about the message which The Forum is carrying.

Another very human dimension of these weeks of activity has been our contacts with workers who have been managing events, in Liverpool Vision, the labouring helpers in the Anglican Cathedral and event participants. Many of these people have been working almost non-stop with venue layouts being completed in the small hours. An international festival is really quite a business itself! We have prayed for strength for all these workers and thanked God for the preparation, diligence and sheer hard work that many have contributed.

Finally, as we hear that another International Festival is planned for Merseyside in 2016, we reflect on what changes will have taken place in the two years ahead. For my own business, we expect our breakthrough product to be trialled and coming onto the market. For the Forum, we expect the existing hundreds of members to collaborate, encourage and thrive in the rapidly developing North West of England. Regarding the global situation, surely no-one expects ‘business as usual’? We now have national debt out of control in many leading nations, social change accelerating in an environment bereft of clear moral leadership, multinational corporations larger than nations, and governmental instability everywhere. On the positive side, technology is opening up a global field of innovation, women are being positively released into leadership and people everywhere starting to re-engage with their communities afresh. The challenge for us all is not to just wait with expectation for the next Festival in two years, but to continue praying daily. Pray for our individual responsibilities and our collective potential. 24 months and counting!

John Manwell

Chief Operating Officer of Global BioDiagnostics Limited and Co-Founder of The Forum

www.gbdbio.com  www.nwcbf.org

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