Nicola Rigby - My week at MIPIM

Type News

Date 27/03/2018

Ahead of MIPIM 2018, there was a clear spotlight on diversity and discrimination at this year’s event, so I was hopeful that we’d notice a new generation of delegates and more senior women. I was proud to fall into both categories while out in Cannes representing GVA.

I love working in regeneration, but it leaves little space for me to lift my head up and out of my day-to-day projects. MIPIM provides a valuable opportunity to learn what others are doing and see how the market is evolving.

Going to France with the newly-launched Greater Manchester Low Carbon Fund as my ‘calling card’ offered me an opportunity to talk to individuals from both the private and public sector across Greater Manchester, and a key goal of mine was to raise awareness of the fund and the types of projects we're targeting.

A week of possibility

There was one word that I used consistently at MIPIM, and that was surreal. I appreciate now that there is no way to articulate what MIPIM is really like, and that it must be seen and experienced to fully understand the value and potential of this event.

The visibility and accessibility of senior public sector representatives, across Local Authorities and Government, is exceptional and makes for a real sense of ‘can-do’ across the conference. The sheer positivity and passion around our cities is tangible. The ability to condense discussions that could take weeks and months to arrange back home into hours and days is a huge advantage of being at MIPIM. It will be interesting to see how this evolves over the next few years.

I was lucky enough to be part of a round table discussion with Invest Liverpool on the Thursday, with 14 European cities discussing finance and delivery challenges around waterfront regeneration. This was more than storytelling, it was the start of a commitment to work together over the next two years to share intelligence, best practice and pit-falls, to ensure progress around these complex but crucial projects. Working side by side with our European counterparts is something we welcome and will only increase our capacity to deliver investment and growth.

The Greater Manchester Low Carbon Fund

There were many people I wanted to speak to regarding the Low Carbon Fund whilst I was out in Cannes and it was a very successful week on that front. The timing of the launch just prior to the conference created lots of initial interest in the fund, and we have over 10 project-specific discussions to follow up.

We also had some fantastic meetings with the Greater Manchester Authorities that are keen to explore using the Low Carbon Fund to leverage private sector investment in major regeneration schemes going forward.

One consistent theme that has run through public sector discussions has been how we can use the fund to deliver innovation and pilot schemes, as well as increasing commercialisation across our FE and HE research on low carbon and energy. The week at MIPIM has given us great momentum in these areas, which we look forward to progressing now we are back in Manchester.

It was great to be involved in the inspiring and insightful debates that took place across MIPIM last week, but I know that the real benefit will come from how we follow up and progress the discussions we’ve had, and the relationships we’ve started.