Sunderland AFC has thrown its support behind the city’s first ever business festival, as the club continues to rebuild and strengthen its relationship with the city.

Taking place between October 4 and 8, the City of Sunderland Business Festival will shine a spotlight on some of the city’s most forward-thinking businesses, as well as the transforming skyline that is attracting organisations from across the globe to Sunderland.

It will also connect local people to job opportunities, inspire businesspeople with thought-provoking speeches and sessions from world-class speakers and showcase the industries that are driving the economic regeneration of the city.

Speaking about the event, Steve Davison, Chief Operating Officer of Sunderland AFC, said: “As a lifelong Sunderland fan, I have witnessed first-hand just how much this club means to the city and its people, which is why – since taking up the role of COO in January – we have been working tirelessly as a club to rebuild relationships with supporters and the wider city.

“Whilst we all know that our matchdays and concerts are an important part of life in the city, one of the other huge positives I have witnessed in my first few months has been the common desire within the city to improve the experience of working and living in Sunderland.

“Sharing this common aim is extremely beneficial and we will continue to work together to accelerate progress, which is why we are delighted to support the city’s first ever business festival where we will showcase our recent actions and present our future plans.”

The football club will play a key role in the festival as the venue for a number of talks and events taking place across the week.

Leading experts and opinion formers regionally, nationally and globally, will be part of the line-up for business-focused events, while residents attending the Recruitment Fair will be supported with information on training options, job opportunities and guidance, as well as a lively line-up of sessions at the Bridges shopping centre, including speed careers “dating”, an entrepreneurs day and a spotlight on homegrown businesses which started life as a hobby and have become hugely successful.

Davison added: “As one of the largest venues in the city, we’re delighted to be playing host to key parts of the Festival at the Stadium of Light.

“The full details of the programme will be released soon and we are delighted that both the club and the Foundation are right at the heart of it.”

Chair of Sunderland Business Partnership, Ellen Thinnesen, who is also chief executive of Education Partnership North East which includes Sunderland College, said: “Sunderland AFC is one of the city’s most historic and famous organisations and we are absolutely thrilled to have them playing such a key role in helping bring to life the city’s first ever Business Festival.

“Over the course of the five days, the festival will bring together business leaders not only from across the North East, but from across the globe, to share best practice and guidance and to hear all about the abundance of opportunities we have right here on our doorstep, from a manufacturing sector leading the UK’s race to electrification to having a rich talent pool made up of five world class universities.”

For further information about Sunderland Business Festival visit