BelFastForward event aims to learn from best global city success stories

Belfast Chamber of Commerce has today announced plans for a major new conference which aims to galvanise Belfast’s business community and other city stakeholders to help deliver a bold new vision for the city.

BelFastForward, which will take place on February 27, 2020, will introduce world class case studies of cities that have emerged from difficult circumstances to become beacons of urban revitalisation, with a range of expert, international speakers covering topics relating to the themes of People, Place and Process.

Belfast Harbour and Belfast One – the Business Improvement District for Belfast City Centre – have partnered with Belfast Chamber as the lead sponsors of the event.

The conference will celebrate all that is good in Belfast but will also challenge delegates to find better ways of working together to make the city a vibrant, sustainable and prosperous centre for future generations – a modern, smart city that maintains Belfast heritage and identity. 

Simon Hamilton, Chief Executive of Belfast Chamber of Commerce said:

“Belfast Chamber members are hugely ambitious for our city.  We envision Belfast being a city of international significance, where people choose to live, work, visit, study and where companies decide to invest. But we also recognise the need to learn from other successful cities across the world as we go through this phase of growth, transition and regeneration. Belfast is an utterly transformed city, but we know there is potential to achieve so much more.”

BelFastForward is about bringing the city’s business community and stakeholders across Belfast together to create a shared vision for the whole city and everyone who lives and works in it.  The conference will ask and hopefully answer key questions like ‘how will growth in the city benefit all of our people’, ‘how do we not just regenerate Belfast but do so in a way that is unique and meets the needs of business and the broader community’ and ‘what are the processes and powers that we need to turn our vision into a reality. 

Scott Wilson, Development Director at Belfast Harbour, said: “Belfast Harbour’s vision for the future recognises the need to work with partners such as Belfast Chamber to help maximise the city’s potential.

“One of Belfast Harbour’s strategic ambitions is to create an iconic waterfront that helps grow opportunities in the leisure, tourism and creative sectors. We want to develop a waterfront that complements the city and has a physical and digital infrastructure that makes it a standout international destination. BelfastForward will be a great platform for everyone with a stake in the city’s future to explore how we can work together to secure a prosperous future.”

Clare Maguire, Managing Director of Belfast One, said:

“There are so many challenges facing our city centre but there is also huge opportunity. BelFastForward will allow the business community’s vision for the regeneration of the city to be heard and channelled.

“We hope the conference schedule will be packed with insights and debate on ways to drive forward regeneration projects, including funding and delivery solutions to unlock development and bring people back to our high street. The conference will be designed to be inspirational, challenging and to create a legacy of pride in our growing city.” 

Simon Hamilton added: 

“Belfast Chamber is challenging stakeholders across the city to come together and discuss how we ensure investment materialises to deliver the regeneration, economic growth and social benefits the city needs. Whether you’re a retailer, SME, international business, developer, in local or central government or from the third sector, we want you to be part of the conversation. We want to create a conference that can capture the energy in our great city and construct a bold vision of a Belfast that serves the needs of its citizens and the wider region – a city fit for the future and of which we can all be proud.”

More information on the BelFastForward conference can be found at