Britain Takes Lead Role At CeBIT 2014 Tech Fair

Lord Green Minister Lies of Lower Saxony CeBIT

Great Britain will be partner country for Germany’s CeBIT show in 2014

Great Britain will be the lead partner country for the giant German trade show CeBIT in 2014, offering an opportunity for British firms to build exports as well as the chance to commemorate the 300th anniversary of an earlier export from Hanover to the UK – King George I.

The trade show features a partner country each year, and next year the British are coming. Lord Green, the UK minister for trade and investment signed an agreement with Olaf Lies, Lower Saxony’s minister of economic affairs at a London launch, where the UK trade body techUK formally signed with Germany’s Bitkom group to promote the event.

King George 1

George I – first German export

“If George had had the right apps on his smartphone, would ruling the country have been easier?” joked Lies, who also argued that – though CeBIT visitor numbers have been declining – face-to-face meetings are still vital.

“Do people just stay at home staring at their computer screen? No!” he said. “People still want to get together.” In practice, CeBIT will be concentrating on  business visitors who have remained steadier than consumers, and the show will be open between 10 and 14 March next year.

Lord Green promised that Britain would “market this with style”. Britain will have a 700 square metre pavilion and showcase SMBs from the country. “We intend to be all over this,” said Lord Green. “Germany is our second largest export market.”

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) will run a competition to give small to medium businesses (SMBs) free exhibition space at CeBT, to meet international customers, the UKTI CEO Nick Baird announced. “Tech companies are born global,” he said.

Julian David, CEO of the UK’s tech trade body, techUK (recently relaunched and formerly known as Intellect) signed up with German tech body Bitkom to promote the event.

“Normally, IT shows are a bit boring,” quipped Bitkom vice president Ulrich Dietz, who explained that this time round, there will be a push for young people, and younger companies – start-ups.

Code_n wants Big Data startups

Ulrich Dietz Bitkom and Julian David techUK

The annual Code_n contest, run by Dietz’ firm GFT, will once again look  for start-ups with exciting business plans, this time calling for Big Data firms, under the slogan “Driving the Data Revolution”. The entry is now closed with 400 entrants and the 50 best will be announced in December, with all of them getting free space in the Code_n pavilion. At CeBIT, one winner will be awarded €30,000 – along with access to customers and investors during the show.

“The most important thing is being together for one week in CeBIT having access to investors and clients as part of this community,” said Andrea Wicek of GFT. Last year’s contest, for businesses using sustainable energy, was criticised for the lack of innovation in the winners, but Wicek was excited by the level of quality this year and promised a show with huge data visualisations.

As is traditional (see our quiz below) CeBIT has a focus based on a made-up word. this time round, that word is “Datability”.

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