Sixteen for 16

What to look out for in 2016

The Downtown in Business team is putting the finishing touches to our most ambitious events programme yet. In 2016, the fastest growing business club outside of London will host over 250 events across five regions. Informing, connecting and celebrating with a diverse range of small, medium and major businesses. Here we recommend sixteen Downtown highlights for 2016. Have a great Christmas – and a busy Downtown New Year!

1. Powerhouse Progress

Downtown has been at the forefront of the Northern Powerhouse debate and discussion, campaigning for twelve years for devolution and elected metro mayors. A series of forums and conferences throughout next year will look at the ‘what next’ for the Powerhouse agenda – and explore what it means for business. Among the contributors to this series will be the chief executive of Manchester City Council Sir Howard Bernstein, the chief executive of Leeds City Council Tom Riordan, the chief executive of Transport for the North Dave Brown and devolution expert Professor Michael Parkinson.

2. Big Black Book launch

We’re publishing DQs Big Black Book in February. Packed full of information that any serious networker will find invaluable, the launch of this very special publication will be launched at a very special event in Manchester.

3. A Frank Conversation with…

Downtown boss Frank McKenna will be continuing to interview some of the biggest names in business and politics throughout 2016. The interim Mayor of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Tony Lloyd, the former chief executive of the Football Association David Davies, entrepreneur and investment specialist Nicola Horlick, Birmingham chief executive Mark Roger and Bruntwood boss Chris Oglesby are just some of the names lined up for this fascinating series.

4. Lancashire BOOST conference

The annual BOOST conference will take place in the Red Rose County during the spring, looking at Lancashire’s place in the Northern Powerhouse; and focussing on the key sectors that will be driving the regions’ economy, with digital and creative, food and drink, advanced manufacturing and construction high on the agenda. 

5. Keys to the Engine

What and who will be the key drivers for the West Midlands engine as a new Combined Authority starts to take shape? What impact will this new strategic body have on the Greater Birmingham economy? And how influential can the business community be in shaping the policies and priorities of the organisation? Business leaders, decision makers, academics and entrepreneurs will explore these important questions at a special summer conference to be hosted by Downtown in 2016.

6. Women in Business

In association with the Women’s Organisation, Downtown will be promoting female enterprise, celebrating successful women in business at spectacular gala awards lunches and campaigning on issues that will support a more positive environment for female entrepreneurs.

7. IFB16

The International Festival for Business will be taking place in Liverpool in June, and we will be advising businesses from across the Downtown network how to effectively get involved and contribute to what will be a spectacular 3 week jamboree of business conferences, forums and networking opportunities. We will also be contributing to the exciting ‘Edge’ fringe events programme for IFB16. To sign up FREE to the IFB business club please visit

8. Rise & Grind

Fabulous speakers, great coffee and bacon butties, and over 100 other business folk to connect with, the popular Rise & Grind breakfast offer from Downtown will continue as we find the best in the business to inspire you to grow your business.

9. Gathering of the Clans

In partnership with leading hotel the Tickled Trout, Downtown Lancashire will continue to bring together our members with those from other business associations from across the county, giving you even more opportunities to connect.

10. Beer Pong

We will be running Beer Pong competitions to see which companies really can ‘work hard and play hard’. A great way to team build and meet other businesses in a more social, relaxed environment.


The London festival will host its third annual conference in the autumn. Downtown will be there in force, hosting events and working with our private and public sector partners to maximise the benefit of this superb three day conference.

12. By Invitation Only

Downtown’s exclusive ‘By Invitation Only’ breakfast, lunch and dinners are one of the most effective ways for our members to meet the people they want to meet, engage with decision makers and key influencers and keep up-to-date with all that is happening in the world of business and commerce. Working with the top venues in the north of England and Birmingham, ‘By Invitation Only’ are the not-to-be-missed Downtown offer.

13. Birthday Bash

In 2016 Downtown is 13! We’ll be celebrating with a very special Leaders Lunch event in Liverpool, and throwing a party that we guarantee will be a very memorable Downtown night.

14. Celebrating success, ambition and entrepreneurs

The best entrepreneurs, business leaders, enterprising individuals and companies will be recognised at the legendary series of gala award dinners that Downtown has become renowned for in Liverpool, Lancashire, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham in 2016.

15. The Leading of Leeds

A series of discussions with some of the key decision makers from across the Leeds city region will take place again next year, with the Combined Authority, the Local Enterprise Partnership, the city council and the regions’ MPs contributing to the debate.

16. Sexy Networking

Last but not least the legendary quarterly Downtown evening that attracts up to 200 business leaders who are looking to ‘work hard and play hard’ whilst winning business too. No boring speeches, no sales pitches and no ‘elevator’ presentations, this is modern networking in a modern setting. Great connections can be made in a relaxed, social environment – and sexy networking offers the ideal backdrop to do just that.

We hope to see you at a Downtown event soon. For information about Downtown membership please CLICK HERE.


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