One of Europe’s largest and most prestigious business events will take place in Derry-Londonderry in May with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as headline speaker.

Matt McNulty, left, interim chair of Ilex and Dr Bernard Toal, Chief Executive of NORIBIC, unveil the programme of EBN Congress 2013 in Derry~Londonderry following an event in the city’s Craft Village.

Organisers, The Northern Ireland Business and Innovation Centre (NORIBIC) today unveiled the line-up and principal sponsors for this year’s European Business Network (EBN) Congress to be held for the first time in Northern Ireland.

Topping the programme for the three day conference (29th-31st May) will be Steve Wozniak, who has been a Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for more than thirty years.  In 1976, Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer Inc with Steve Jobs, helping to shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products.  Speaking from the US, Steve said, “I’m absolutely delighted to be coming to Northern Ireland for the EBN Congress. The programme sounds absolutely fantastic, and the fact that it is taking place during the UK City of Culture year adds to the excitement and anticipation.”

Wozniak will be joined on 30th May by Sir Tim Smit KBE, famous for his work with the world-renowned Eden Project and USA based Richard Florida, the best-selling author on the economic importance of the creative industries.

Outlining the programme, Dr Bernard Toal, Chief Executive of NORIBIC said that the (EBN) Congress is of huge significance in the business innovation sector and attracts a high-powered audience comprising international decision-makers, investors and business angels.  “It is a massive coup to win the opportunity to host this conference, as it is the first time it is being held in Northern Ireland, and we are pulling out all the stops to deliver an event with a difference.  Derry’s status as City of Culture will be woven into the three days which will focus on the themes of Digital, Social and Cultural Innovation.  Testament to the importance of the Congress is the calibre of sponsorship it has attracted and we are delighted today to announce that Ilex has joined the Department for Culture Arts & Leisure (DCAL) and Invest NI as Principal Sponsor.  Given Ilex’s strategic role in the economic growth of North West its support is particularly welcome.”

Matt McNulty, Interim Chair of Ilex added,“Ilex is delighted to support the EBN Congress in Derry~Londonderry.  Not only will this conference draw people from around the world to the city, it will positively promote its regeneration in line with our ambition of the One Plan. It will also project the city as a location of choice for investment and will have a substantial economic impact, generating over £700,000 for the local economy.”

EBN Congress 2013 will include a series of events and exhibitions including the Digital, Cultural and Social Innovation networking Villages.  It will begin on 29th May with a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Derry, followed by a cultural welcome event in the Craft Village.  The Millennium Forum will then stage the main conference on 30th and 31st May with a Gala Dinner and Concert showcasing many local acts at The Venue at Ebrington on the Thursday evening (30th May).

Dr Toal concluded, “It is very rare to have a conference of this magnitude featuring such a stellar list of speakers right on our doorstep and we would encourage local businesses to avail of the opportunity to attend.  Businesses with a postcode in Northern Ireland can benefit from a 70% specially reduced delegate rate sanctioned by EBN and available at .”

In addition to the Principal Sponsors, the EBN Congress is also supported by SEUPB’s INTERREG IVA Programme, the Irish BICS, Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau (DVCB), the Nerve Centre, Concentrix, Carson and McDowell, Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP), Seagate, North West Regional College (NWRC) the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), Tayto and Bushmills.