Belfast has fought off stiff competition to host the largest-ever global business event to be held in the city, attracting over 5,000 delegates and generating over £7 million for the local economy this year, it was confirmed today (Friday 13th March 2015).

Visit Belfast has secured two major tech events developed by organisers of the Web Summit – Europe’s fastest growing technology event. The conferences will bring thousands of tech leaders, investors, entrepreneurs and media to the city for a week in June.

Belfast was chosen from a long list of global cities which were vying to secure the landmark events after a successful pitch by Visit Belfast in partnership with Invest Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council. The organisers have said that they were highly impressed by the city and its ‘can do’ attitude the enthusiasm they encountered.

MoneyConf and EnterConf will take place across a number of venues over four full days from Monday 15th June until Friday 19th June 2015 and discussions are already under way to expand these events in 2016 and 2017. This year, T13 in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter will host the main conference programme.

The two events combined represent the largest ever conference programme to be held in Belfast and will be coordinated with similar tech gatherings in Las Vegas and Hong Kong. Visit Belfast also confirmed that the combined series of events could be held annually in Belfast and may be worth up to £25 million to the local economy by 2017 as the conferences expand.

Lord Mayor Councillor Nichola Mallon said: “Belfast’s growing reputation as a location for major international events and conferences and as a global player in the tech market is underlined by the organisers of Europe’s most important web event choosing the city as the venue for these major conferences.

“The city is a fitting location as it has invested millions of pounds in our digital infrastructure and is home to a number of innovative tech companies who are taking the world by storm, particularly in the field of creative industries.

“These events tie in with a key component of our economic development strategy for the city which is attracting business tourism through major events and conferences and which is evidenced by the £30 million investment in conference and exhibition facilities at Belfast Waterfront.

“The thousands of delegates who come to our city in June are going to find a young, vibrant, exciting city which is in harmony with their own cutting edge, innovative and inventive personalities.”

Visit Belfast Chief Executive, Gerry Lennon, said:

“Securing such high-profile events represents a major opportunity for Belfast. These conferences will bring global technology leaders to the city, generating significant mid-week, high-spend business as well as benefitting the wider regional economy.

“It’s our aim and mission to ensure that we bring the right business events to Belfast that not only benefit the city and generate significant tourism revenue but can also deliver in the longer term – creating and sustaining jobs, enhancing our international profile and in improving the overall attractiveness of the city as a place to visit and do business in.”

MoneyConf will attract 2,000 delegates who specialise in creating and developing technology to support some of the biggest names in the global finance market for two days from Monday 15th June. EnterConf will then begin on Thursday 18th June for a two-day run that will see more than 3,000 delegates participate in a busy programme focused on the development and expansion of business technologies.

Paddy Cosgrave, CEO and Founder of Web Summit said:

“Web Summit has grown substantially over the past four years making it one of the world’s largest technology events. We’re therefore incredibly excited to bring our first two standalone conferences to Belfast in June. We look forward to working with Belfast over the coming months to showcase the city to thousands of attendees from around the world and some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.”

Invest Northern Ireland Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton said:

“Over the last five years Northern Ireland has established itself as the UK’s leading location for foreign direct investment outside London. Belfast is also the world’s leader for financial services technology investment.

“We see these significant events as an integral part of our longer-term plans to grow the financial services and technology sectors and to highlight the strength of our knowledge economy and the attractiveness of Northern Ireland as an outstanding place in which to invest in and do business.”

In December, Belfast was named the world’s most Business Friendly City of its size by the fDi intelligence division of the FT. Not only that, but it was also named in the world’s top 10 cities for Business Friendliness of any size – beating locations like Dubai and Tokyo.

Last year, Belfast helped to kick off the 2014 Web Summit with an Invest Northern Ireland-hosted event which saw 150 global technology start-ups and 20 tech investors get a taste of what was to come.

More details about this year’s events will be revealed later this month.