Dalai Lama to help YIBC sign off in city

THE YORKSHIRE International Business Convention’s (YIBC) flagship event in Leeds will bow out on a high this year with a glittering panel of speakers including the Dalai Lama, according to organiser Mike Firth.

Mr Firth stressed that the YIBC’s Bridlington Spa event will continue and should prosper.

“We’ve had 17 amazing years bringing our convention to Harrogate and now Leeds,’’ said Mr Firth. “I hope we have helped to put Yorkshire on the world map while entertaining and inspiring our delegates. We set the bar very high. If we can’t sustain that, it’s time to say, ‘Thanks very much and good night’.”

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The YIBC became a two-venue affair in 2004. Since then, speakers and the audience have been split between its “traditional” base of Harrogate and East Yorkshire.

At its peak, the YIBC, which had usually been held at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate, attracted 1,400 people.

This year’s event, which is being held at MEPC’s Wellington Place in Leeds on June 15, is expected to have an audience of 700 people.

“It’s been a fantastic journey,’’ said Mr Firth. “There is a very tight knit community around Bridlington and we will continue there.”

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Mr Firth said he was expecting a full house of 650 people at Bridlington this year. Speakers in Bridlington on June 15 will include football legend Kevin Keegan. In the past, the YIBC’s Harrogate event had broken even, after reeling in around £500,000.

Mr Firth said the decision to end the Leeds event had been partly due to the tough economic climate and the spiralling cost of attracting top speakers. However, he said there was a possibility that he might try to attract charismatic speakers, such as current US President Barack Obama, to Leeds or Harrogate for one-off events in the future. For more information visit www.yibc.biz