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A FESTIVAL celebrating the business community in Worcester is coming to the city this Friday.

The fourth annual Festival of Business being organised by Worcestershire Enterprise Ltd is an extension of #worcestershirehour, a twice weekly virtual networking event providing a platform for local county business.

This year’s event will also feature the NatWest Boost Business bus - a converted double decker bus staffed by NatWest's small business experts and local business advice organisations.

The Worcestershire Festival of Business will formally be opened at 9am at the Guildhall entrance by the Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Steve Mackay.

Cllr Mackay said: "Independent businesses are the lifeblood of Worcester’s economy, and supporting them is a real priority for the city council.

“Come along to the Worcestershire Festival of Business and see for yourself the scale and variety of enterprise this city has to offer.”

The festival comes at a good time for Worcester with the news earlier this year that the Worcestershire economy achieved the highest productivity growth in England. Between 2010 and 2015, the county’s productivity – indicating the efficiency of economic output – grew at an average rate of three per cent a year, higher than any other English county. Additionally figures from last month show that unemployment in the city has more than halved since 2013 and has seen a 61 per cent drop since 2010.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said: "I am delighted that the Festival of Business is returning for its fourth consecutive year.

"It is a unique opportunity to showcase Worcester’s world class businesses, inspire entrepreneurs and support them to help them go further.

"Scaling up business is a crucial ambition for the government and can deliver more jobs for our whole economy.

"Last year there was a real mood of optimism and celebration of the successes of local business. With the news earlier this year that Worcestershire is setting the standard for productivity growth in England as well as the exciting developments in Worcester’s Cathedral Square, I'm sure this year’s event will be even better."

The festival’s main sponsor is Wealth Management firm Sanlam, along with Worcestershire Ambassadors, Worcestershire LEP, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce and Worcester City Council.

For more details visit worcestershirehour.co.uk/festival-business-2017.