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You Survived MIPIM!

“You survived MIPIM” is all I have heard since returning from MIPIM2017, the world’s leading property market event held annually in Cannes, France.  As a first time attendee this statement captures the trepidation which I had on the run up to the event: what is SYSTRA Limited and what am I personally seeking to get from the event? and, with regard to survival, will I have the stamina to cope with the legendary gruelling round of meetings, events and parties?

In my role as Development Sector Director for SYSTRA Limited in the UK and Ireland, I sought to prepare for the event by taking advice from experienced participants, ensuring that I had appropriate diary slots filled with events which could offer good networking opportunities, identified a number of interesting seminars and a number of one to one meetings.  Before attending I also considered how to judge the success of the event, numbers of business cards given and received, quality of contacts etc.

Then we arrived in Cannes and MIPIM2017.  The event is a fantastic spectacle with over 23,000 participants, 2,600 exhibiting companies and 90 represented countries descending on this picturesque city located on the French Riviera.  A worldwide showcase of emerging development opportunities, an enormous number of private sector sponsors assisting cities, regions and countries to tell MIPIM of their advantages, whether commercial, locational or any other reasons to claim such advantage.  All in all and despite my preparation, it all felt a bit overwhelming.

Then it happened.  As I wandered around the event I found development opportunities in the UK stands and pavilions on which SYSTRA Limited had provided the supporting transportation advice and expertise. I met professional partners from organisations that I was aware SYSTRA Limited had worked with and occasionally I came across someone I knew.  I also engaged with a significant number of new contacts, like-minded professionals seeking to expand their network of contacts and learn about future opportunities.  I also found a number of development propositions around the world hanging off of metro systems design by SYSTRA SA, our parent company.

So what did I bring back from MIPIM2017?  From a SYSTRA Limited perspective I consider that attending MIPIM and understanding that we have been involved in projects which are being showcased elevates the company brand.  From a personal perspective, I learned far more than I thought I would, I gained a greater understanding of how the investment and development world works.  I also did remember the most important advice I had received from my peers.  I stopped, I looked around and enjoyed the overall experience.

Do I consider it to have been a success?  I have concluded that there is no forensic approach to measuring success at the event.  My immediate conclusion is that the experience has been very positive and I do think I will be able to look back in a few months and see some tangible outcomes.

The final question was whether I had the stamina to last a week of MIPIM?  The simple answer is no, but I am in training for next year!