Woz to speak at Derry conference

Stephen "Steve" Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc.,
Stephen "Steve" Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc.,

The co-founder of computer giant Apple is to address one of Europe’s largest business events in Derry this morning.

Steve Wozniak is the keynote speaker at the European Business and Innovation Network Congress, hosted by the Northern Ireland Business and Innovation Centre in the Millennium Forum.

The major three day conference, which will feature an unparalleled line-up of 50 top-class speakers, officially got underway yesterday (Wednesday) with pre-programme meetings and events, including a drinks reception hosted by Derry City Council, but begins in earnest today.

Made possible by the support of principal sponsors Invest NI, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and ILEX, the congress has attracted speakers from as far away as China and Australia, and delegates from all over Europe, as well as a local business audience.

Wozniak will provide the headline address at 10am, with other speakers today (Thursday) including Sir Tim Smit KBE, famous for his work creating the Eden Project which is often referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’; USA based Richard Florida, the best-selling author on the economic importance of the creative industries and described as an ‘intellectual rock star’; and Benjamin Southworth, Deputy CEO and Head of Community of the Tech City Investment Organisation in London.

Some 550 delegates have signed up to attend the congress, exhibition space at the Millennium Forum conference venue is sold out with over 40 exhibitors confirmed, and sponsorship has exceeded targets with another 19 well-known private and public sector organisations from throughout Northern Ireland joining the top-line support from Invest Northern Ireland, DCAL and ILEX.

Dr Bernard Toal, Chief Executive of NORIBIC says: “In my experience there has never been a line-up to match this in Northern Ireland. Focusing on the themes of Digital, Social and Cultural Innovation, the breadth of expertise and experience on offer is nothing less than awesome. Our European delegates and those from closer to home will not only be informed and inspired but also entertained by an eclectic mix of cultural experiences so it really is a conference with a difference. ”

Ilex’s Interim Chief Executive Mel Higgins said: “Ilex is delighted to support the EBN Congress which has chosen the first ever UK City of Culture to host its prestigious international conference. This event has drawn people from all corners of the globe, many of whom are seeing the city for the first time. It will help project Derry~Londonderry as a location of choice for investment and will have a substantial economic impact, generating over £700,000 for the local economy.”

“The Congress will showcase our ambitious regeneration programme and we’re particularly pleased that delegates are holding their gala dinner in the Venue 2013 where they will see for themselves the ongoing transformation of Ebrington into a new shared public space”.