Daily Mail facts (well approximate facts)

I am going to post some of the things we did at MIPIM last week tomorrow. But on Saturday the Daily Mail printed a ‘story’ about the “Jolly” of the MIPIM festival.

The Nottingham HQ is on the left ...

The Nottingham HQ is on the left …

You can read it here.

The paragraph about Nottingham says, “Team Nottingham, the delegation from Nottingham, took over as its headquarters the top floor of a bar overlooking the beach, paid for by private sector partners.

Three facts.

Fact One – “The top floor of a bar”. Well sort of – it was the first floor above a bar- there are three above the room hired. Not quite the ‘top’ then.

Fact Two “overlooking the beach”. Again, not quite. The beach is some way to the East of the restaurant. You can see the brutalist 1960′s architecture of the Palais De Festivals. And possibly some masts of yachts in the harbour. But not the beach.

Fact Three “the private sector paid for [the HQ]“. Well again, not quite. The private sector sponsored the attendance at the event – but those funds were not directly attributed to one part of the show or other. The Council funded part of the trip too. The private sector did pay for a drinks reception – at which there were over 200 Investors, developers and advisors.

I do realise that it is fairly pointless arguing with the National Press on this, but I do suggest that it a great pity when facts get in the way of a good story.

Back to the facts tomorrow!

MIPIM 2013 – a round up

My 10th MIPIM came to an end on Friday, the last three I have been variously involved in organising Team Nottingham – the private sector group of companies who ensured Nottingham retained a presence at this world property show – after the City Council couldn’t afford to fund the event.

Team Nottingham - decked out in Paul Smith!

Team Nottingham – decked out in Paul Smith!

All in all it was a pretty successful year. I think we had our best MIPIM ever – with three funded events. First a dinner for over 50 people, secondly a drinks party of around 200 and finally a brunch for 40 on the last day of the show. We kept Nottingham in the press and held our profile.

The numbers there were down I think. There was a story on the last day that out of 20,000 pre-sold delegate passes some 5,000 had not been collected. I don’t know whether this was true, but the restaurants seemed quieter. The weather was mixed – but it was the weather away from the Cote D’Azur which seemed to keep people away.

I met more (new) people than I have ever met previously – in 5 days I attended 16 ‘events’ – which is great for networking but less good on the waistline. The feet take a battering too as you walk between venues and stand for hours. Fortunately our apartment was within walking distance of the main hall (lovingly known as the bunker), so it was possible to get back and spend some time resting the feet!

So my next task over the coming week or so is to pick up those business cards and make contact again – to follow up. We have some really interesting opportunities.

Finally, there will be a handing over of the baton for MIPIM 2014 back to the City. If I’m honest I’m a little relieved, this is a big task which I try to fit into my day job. So to hand it over will be good. It also means I won’t have to deal with the conflict that can arise when a small group of people try to do the right thing – but face criticism and some hostility from various quarters. I don’t need that hassle anymore!

I’ll be at MIPIM next year. In fact, I’m looking forward to it as I think two major projects I’m involved in will be on-site in the East Midlands – so we will be able to shout about them…

The Nottingham Dinner ….

Last night we held or Nottingham Dinner at MIPIM 2013.


We have built on the event over the last three years and I think our key event was the best ever. It was held in one of the most stunning locations – at the 360 degree restaurant on the 7th floor of the Radisson Hotel. We were treated well!

We had, as guests, 52 people attend the dinner. Keynote speeches were made by Peter Richardson (chair of the D2N2 LEP), Jon Collins (Leader of Nottingham City Council) and Mark Chivers (Director of Alliance Boots with responsibility for the Enterprise Zone). Each were able to give a personal view on why people should come to and invest in Nottingham.

The big announcement was that Nottingham City Council had signed a land deal with UKR for the sale of the Sandfield Centre. This is the village scheme I have blogged about before. And it now takes a step closer to reality. The team who have worked on the scheme were all there – including Assael Architecture who I have been working with on this and another scheme (more on that later!)

There is no doubt that this was an impressive event. We had representation from the national press there, developers, ‘money men’, professionals and some very bright ‘creatives’!

The thing I noticed most was the air of optimism. There was a genuine desire on the part of the team to sell Nottingham. The people I spoke to seemed genuinely impressed. Hopefully that will translate into real enquiries.

MIPIM Day 2 – the day ahead…

It’s going to be a busy day!

Cannes in the winter sunshine

Cannes in the winter sunshine

Yesterday we had better weather than the UK by all accounts, although we had some showers.

The team have all arrived safely and were briefed last night over pizza. They have their orders – we are after investors and developers who want to put their money in a great place – Nottingham.

So today looks like …

* A few private meetings with investors – with requirements for property

* The official opening of the ‘stand’ in the bunker with Peter Richardson, chair of the LEP.

* Jon Collins arriving on his bike – having traversed England and France over the last few days.

* An appointment with Prof. Brian Cox – who is speaking on the MAnchester stand – I will be tempted to ask him whether ‘things can only get better‘ but will probably resist…

* Tonight is the Team Nottingham VIP dinner at the Radisson Hotel – we have an impressive guest list of 50 people.

More later! Breakfast next!

MIPIM 2013 – starts here.

Where do that year go? I can’t believe it’s a year since I was on the Cote D’Azur at the world property show lovingly known as MIPIM. The 2013 show starts today.


My MIPIM started last night as my flight this morning (hopefully) took off from Brummieland at 6.50am. That means a 4.50am check in. And allowing an hour from sunny Nottingham, my wake up would have been just after 3… I don’t do ‘just after 3′, makes me more grumpy than usual.

Having said that, I’m already grumpy. I stayed in the Novotel at the Airport last night – this allowed a more reasonable 4.30am start. I will pay good money for an extra two hours in bed. £99 on this occasion – for a very average room. But then e9.90 for overnight wi-fi. OK, that won’t break the bank, but I am heartily sick of hotels charging for wi-fi. When I was in the USA a few weeks ago, my son and I commented on the fact that there was free wi-fi just about everywhere – hotels, restaurants, shopping malls.

I’m not going to finish this blog on rip-off Britain though. I’m about to step into the world of millionaires – of Gucci and Prada. Where 10 euros is about average for a bottle of beer. Well, it is this week!

A quick precis though – Team Nottingham are in MIPIM – with the sole aim of promoting all that is good about the City. This a private sector funded trip – although we do have the public sector with us. The team are like-minded about what we want to achieve. It’s all about inward investment – bringing people in. getting them to invest. So we have more jobs and a more prosperous economy.

So, that’s it for this little blog this morning. I will keep you posted on what we are up to as the week goes on. I am privy to some announcements – although they are currently embargoed. They will appear here – so do drop by – I’ll try to keep up with whats happening! There may be some stuff on twitter too – try @TGNot or ….


Quite a few people in Team Nottingham are MIPIM virgins. I am not. I carry the scars from years of treading the boards on the Cote D’Azur.


So, in an effort to be helpful if you are doing MIPIM 2013, heres my top 10 hints:

1. Shoes. Do not wear new shoes, they may make you look sharply dressed as you ponce around the Croissette – but your feet will bleed by the end of the week from the hours you walk the halls and stand around.

2. Sleep. Sleep before the event – the days are long and arduous. Breakfast meetings and evening dinners blur eventually. Sleep is a treasured thing. Try to get some time out in the day to rest.

3. Beer. Is expensive. As is wine and champagne. But you will be plied with it from every angle. It is not cool to be seen draped across a bar heater in Bar Romma at 4am. Pace is everything. Water is good between beer.

4. Business Cards. Take some and bring some home. But when you meet someone don’t just put the card in your pocket. Write on the back of it – where you met the person and what you talked bout / what opportunity there might be for you. You will not remember at the end of the week.

5. Follow Up. when you get back from Cannes follow up. Make sure you do. The business end of Cannes is generally done back in the UK. Thats why you need to write on the business cards.

6. Canapes. Are quite lovely. But after four days you will be heartily sick of them. They do nothing for appetite. So make sure you get a decent breakfast – plenty of small cafes sell the full english treatment and why shouldn’t you. But there’s also great kebab shops which stays open until the early hours. Essential nutrients can be taken on board.

7. Brochures. It might look cool walking around with handfuls of brochures – but are you going to get them in your bag to come home? Really? Leave them where they are.

8. Sunshine. It has been known to be sunny. Which has an amazing effect on the pale-faced agents (who rarely see the light of day normally). Sun tan lotion is not for girls. You look more silly as a lobster than a hint of coffee (factor 25). You will need your sunglasses. Aviators make a true agent.

9. Dress Code. This is always a tough one. I rarely wear a tie at the office now, but I do for certain clients. If it is a formal dinner you may need a suit and tie, otherwise it’s suits and open necked shirts. As the evening wears on it can get cool though so thin jumpers may be de rigeur.

10. ENJOY. It’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it. Remember to line up your stories about 18 hour networking sessions and tough negotiations. No one will believe you otherwise…

I’ll be at MIPIM 2013 with my firm and Team Nottingham – blogging when I can.

MIPIM 2013

Nottingham will be represented at MIPIM 2013. For those who don’t know what MIPIM is, it’ the de-facto world property show where Countries, Regions and Cities vie for profile – and critically for inward investors.

In the last few years as a region we have seen Derby go from strength to strength and Leicester gently bow out. Both look to return in 2013.

So what about Nottingham. After the austerity measures in 2010 the City decided it could not be seen to be taking Councillors and Officers on ‘holidays’ the South of France. The press were having a field day with stories comparing poor residents to suntanned Officers. It was pretty cheap stuff. It said a lot about the UK press actually – cheap shots, inaccurate but sensational. And the Sun Readers dream story. Outraged he was (and probably still is).

The problem with the show is that it is a known success story. Nottingham has had successes from is. As have the private sector who go too. It is a giant market place.

Team Nottingham are a group of private sector companies who stepped up to the plate in 2011 and 2012 – to represent Nottingham. We paid for promotional material, but more significantly took Officers of the Council to the show. We fielded around 20 people. They worked the place and networked night and day.

The private sector group of us met last week – and the Council representatives were present. We know that the City are keen to be represented at the show. What we don’t know just yet wis whether they will have any money to promote the City again -as they have done in the past.

What I do know from my good friends in the private sector is that we will make sure Nottingham does get profile. It was refreshing to hear the unwavering support for the event. I’ll post an update when I know what will happen…

MIPIM 2012 – looking back….

So another MIPIM finished last week and I’m now back in the UK. I have lost track of my visits, but believe that was my 9th trip to Cannes and the Cote D’Azur.

The sun sets on MIPIM 2012 in Cannes

We had a fantastic show. Two announcements about Nottingham – one about the Enterporise Zone, the other about the new UK Regeneration scheme. These were good news stories.

We had three formal events; a dinner, a drinks reception and a breakfast. In between a lot of meetings (yes – some on yachts with champagne). We met a lot of people; some join the circle of friends the City has.

We can’t compete with the likes of the Krasnodar presence at MIPIM – they paid a cool million pounds for their stand – a bit beyond the Team Nottingham budget! Cannes is a great place to get rid of cash.

The question you will always be asked is, was it worth it. Well yes. I met people who I wouldn’t normally meet or if I would then it would be in a focused meeting! Sometimes the ability to just to chat about things means you learn about their businesses and what they are doing outside your usual visibility. Some of the things we do are about slow burn.

As to Team Nottingham it has grown and now represents a formidable force – it is fascinating to watch the team at work; to see them sell the City (and their own firms).

The consensus view is that we will do it all again next year. The big questions will be whether it will be bigger! If it is we need more sponsors and that brings new challanges. Coralling 21 people in a foreign country could be described at times as being like herding cats!

Of course the real decison should be based on whether we get more work; only time will tell!

Nottingham v Derby

As you will know if you read my blog, I was at MIPIM last week. As the organiser of Team Nottingham – and having been born here (and spent all of my working life here) it’s not difficult to see where my allegiances lie. But, my firm have a Derby office and we sponsor (as well as Team Nottingham) some of the Derby City presence.

Their day was Wednesday last week, with a breakfast and formal dinner. My firm paid for the latter. It was a smallish affair, 15 people, including the Chief Executive of the Council, Council Leader and a number of others.

There were some interesting discussions – civilised mostly – but heated in part.

The Leader of the Council, Philipa Hickson, challenged the room asking why none of us sought political office – it seems we snipe at those in such position, but rarely put ourselves forward. Fair point. Although I might suggest that of you can’t stand the heat perhaps you shouldn’t be in the kitchen.

There was then a challenge to Derby – asking why, despite the D2N2 LEP, the two cities didn’t work closer together more often. The example was that Nottingham had the Enterprise Zone and Derby had won some Regional Growth Fund monies – why didn’t the two Cities put that offer together and ‘market’ it to a wider audience.

Cllr Hickson response was whether Nottingham wanted to share in his RGF pot. He said that Nottingham had not let him forget that they had won the money. In the next breath he expressed his dismay at why Nottingham had been selected for the EZ, “Nottingham get more than their fair share”.

So my response to him about his earlier challenge was that his view of the EZ / RGF position was why I would’t do politics. This polarised view is something we don’t do in business.

In defence of him and his Council, I can see that they were seen in previous years as the ugly sister, but I don’t see this today. And I think that Nottingham and Derby do miss out by not working together. But don’t expect that to change anytime soon … unless the Leadership changes… And then perhaps the rivalry is so deep rooted that it will be generations before the two City’s collaborate.

Nottingham – Invest in Nottingham Club Reception

Our second event in Cannes is always a popular one; a reception in an Irish Bar on the Quayside in Cannes. And I’m pleased to say the sun came out for us. When we first arrived in Cannes it was cooler than usual -but the last 24 hours have seen a return to blue skies. It was about time!

This was an event sponsored by the Invest in Nottingham Club – the private sector part of Invest in Nottingham. I think it was a success as we had around 250 people crammed in. There were Architects, Agents, QS’s, Developers, Engineers, consultants and some Investors. We also attracted a number of Press too. There was fantastic atmosphere and clearly we were very visible.

There were no glitzy announcements, just an opportunity to meet lots of people. Team Nottingham were out in force “working the room”. It was great to see. We even saw some of the ‘opposition’ coming to check us out!

This was Team Nottingham doing what they do best – meeting people. The real benefit of this event was that the Team take every opportunity to introduce guests to people in the team who might have a connection or be able to help in some way. It’s what MIPIM is all about.

This was a great value for money event for us – and one I guess will get repeated next year.

Our final event at MIPIM this year is a smaller breakfast, which will be taking place as this post hits the presses….