High cost of MADE “was investment”

Nicki Clark, chief operating officer of BE Group at MADE
Nicki Clark, chief operating officer of BE Group at MADE
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“We just knew that after a year off we had to come out all guns blazing.”

That was how Nicki Clark, chief operating officer of BE Group described their approach to organising this year’s MADE Festival in Sheffield.

She added: “It cost a good six figures to put on. But we see it as an investment year, we didn’t want to come and do a small event.

“I think that reflects the economic climate, companies are re-investing to prepare for growth.”

MADE was cancelled last year after Sheffield City Council failed to put the contract out to tender in time. BE, a Durham-based business services group, won a three-year contract to run the event.

Some 1,800 tickets were sold and an estimated 3,000 people attended two days of events at the City Hall and 40 fringe events across the city that ran all week.

Expenses included a host of high-profile speakers – such as Paul McKenna, Michelle Mone and Levi Roots – the hire of the hall and staffing.

The event is moving to October next year to avoid a clash with Freshers’ Week so both universities could be more involved, Nicki Clark said. Activities would take place on Barkers Pool, she added.

The only downside was the business exhibition in the basement ballroom which had low visitor numbers.

She also praised the MADE Makers – 40 volunteer students from the Peter Jones Academy at Sheffield College.

“We literally couldn’t have done it without them. They are such talented teenagers, they came in every day, had a 10-minute briefing and carried out their jobs perfectly. Sponsors, exhibitors and speakers said how fab the team has been.”