Positive mood at the biggest property event in the world

  • Tim Garratt at MIPIM 

24,200 delegates attending from 100 countries, including 5,000 investors and financial institutions… the mood at this year’s MIPIM was positive – and surprisingly, there was very little mention of the ‘B’ word. Our MD Tim Garratt gives his view of the world’s biggest property event

Sore feet. Pockets bulging with business cards. A bag of brochures, sponsored phone chargers and pens… MIPIM might be over for another year – but we're just starting on another 12 months of possibilities in terms of following up leads.

Held in Cannes, MIPIM is the world’s biggest property event. I have been going along to MIPIM with my Innes England colleagues for more than a decade. It’s pitched as a jolly by those not in the know – and as a very serious networking opportunity by those who are.

Innes England was proud to sponsor Derby, Nottingham and Leicester and to be very much part of the Midlands Pavilion – the inaugural collective presence of the East and West Midlands at MIPIM.

The resource, energy and potential for the whole Midlands region were huge. The region did need to join itself up and to shout louder to the world outside. The Midlands Engine initiative can catalyse those things: and MIPIM is the perfect venue.

As a firm we are deeply committed to the Midlands – and to its development and regeneration.  MIPIM offers us that opportunity to speak to investors and developers and contacts you can wait weeks, even months, to meet up with in the UK.

There was a real buzz in Cannes. At the centre of the interest was the presence of the pavilion which was just a short walk from the new Manchester stand in all its glory in its new position right on the beach and attracting figures like Gary Neville, ex-footballer-cum-property developer. The pavilion was also close to the London stand, with its intricate models of the capital’s skyline and crowds of international visitors.

The Midlands Pavilion hosted more than 50 panel events – I was happy to be part of those events speaking on such subjects as the Boots Enterprise Zone and the importance of the life sciences sector in Nottingham.

I expected more people, especially those from overseas, to be talking about Brexit and its negative effects on business. And of course, there are issues for the US and issues with the forthcoming French elections. Whatever the sensitive political landscape, these things were mentioned but didn’t seem to overpower conversations. Quite the reverse in fact – there seemed to be an anticipation about the UK’s future as it goes it alone.

As anyone involved will tell you, there’s never really any break from MIPIM. It’s not just about a week in March – it’s a year-round project.

Those four days in the south of France often pass by in a whirl of networking, swapping cards and pounding La Croissette, and so the work that goes in beforehand to ensure you know exactly where you’re going and who you need to speak to is vital.

You might think the flight home is the end of it for another year, but you couldn’t be more wrong; that’s when the hard work really starts.

Anyone who has been to a large trade show or fair will know that prioritising contact with those that you’ve met is key to the success of the trip. MIPIM is that process writ large. If the four days in Cannes go quickly, then organising yourself to follow up on your precious, new-found contacts, is vital as you’ll get little chance while you’re out there.