Like Minds aims to become monthly international event
The organisers of Exeter's two-day Like Minds "ideas festival" are planning to roll out the concept to a global network of 12 international cities.
The event saw a number of inspirational speakers from around the world, including Brixham-born Russ Lidstone, CEO of advertising and marketing agency EuroRSCG, and John Richardson, businessman and author of Dream On, which is currently being made into a film. They all addressed the question: 'Why what you do matters.'
The aim of Like Minds is to try and build better businesses by sharing ideas and making connections between different people in different areas. It has been named by the Guardian as one of the top ten global ideas festivals. After starting in Exeter, in 2009, Like Minds has now grown to include events in London and Helsinki with more planned for Dubai, in October, and Shanghai, in November.
"The idea is to create a community in 12 different cities around the world to bring these business people together. The business community in Exeter gets to connect with the community in Dubai and Shanghai and that provides really exciting opportunities for people. Like Minds, as a platform, can give a global reach," said founder Drew Ellis.
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Speakers addressed business challenges including sustainability, creativity and profitability, urging delegates to take a different approach to solving economic problems.
Mr Lidstone, whose agency has worked with brands including Dulux, Brylcreem and Santander, said: "We need to produce people who can walk and talk and act outside the global economic bubble of the last 50 years."
Around 150 delegates a day visited Like Minds, which was held at the Exeter Conference Centre, in Northernhay Street. The event also spilled out in bars and restaurants around the city centre, which hosted lunchtime talks, and there was an evening session on Exeter Quay.
Mr Ellis said he would have liked to have seen more delegates at the event itself, but said a number of people followed it online. "We know we had people watching in America and in Australia. We know it has enormous reach," he added. "We know this brings a lot of revenue to Exeter through sponsorship and people staying in hotels and eating in restaurants."