Marché International des Professionnels d'Immobilier, or thankfully, MIPIM as it is more commonly known, is billed as the premier real estate event in the world. And in my experience that is no empty boast.

Each year in March it gathers the most influential personalities from all sectors of the international property industry. They all come together for four days of networking and deal-making, in Cannes in the south of France.

For the first time in its history, Signature Private Finance will be sending a team to the event and as you read this we’ll be in Cannes, ready for a busy four days. We recognise we need to meet the people that will help our business take its next important steps as we transform our offering.

It’s important not to confuse this event with MIPIM UK, which took place in October at London’s Olympia; the international event is on a completely different scale.

The numbers are impressive

The organisers are already predicting 26,000 participants attending, with most visiting the Palais des Festivals on the seafront. It is here the main event is staged and around 3,350 exhibitors promoting their services and opportunities.

More than 100 countries are represented, all no doubt pushing their inward investment message to anyone who will listen.  Amongst the exhibitors, there will also be major global cities, who will all be pushing similar masterplanning messages, as they seek the investors to transform them.

Last year’s event featured housing as a major theme, with a significant showing by Homes England, the UK government’s housing accelerator. It claims to have the appetite, influence, expertise and resources to drive positive change in the housing market.

By releasing more land to those developers ready to make a difference, it hopes to be part of the process creating the new homes England needs, helping improve neighbourhoods and grow communities along the way.

It offered support for the new ‘build-to-rent’ approach, which we touched on in another blog, where the large institutions are expected to invest billions of pounds in new properties, they can rent out to achieve stable income returns in the future.

With little sign of any reduction in the demand for affordable housing in the UK, there is every expectation a similar message will be delivered this year, with local authorities encouraged to review their planning guidelines and help ease the development process.

Think big and aim high

Our team consists of CEO Tony Gilbertson, Sales Director Jon Preston and Lending Manager Trevor Melly, who will be part of the expected 33,000 delegates.

The key to making MIPIM a success in my experience, is good planning, well in advance of arrival. We have already arranged around 60 meetings over the 4 days, starting with a few around the breakfast table, then onto lunch dates and finally a few over dinner.

We also have around 20 events to fit in, which is a great way to network and meet important new contacts. We have some big plans for Signature Private Finance in 2019 and whilst we’re thinking big, we have established objectives, against which we can measure our success on our return.

It’s not just about the meetings we have in Cannes, but those we can arrange back in the UK with everyone involved in the property sector, including investors, developers, landlords and other professionals with the skills we need to grow our business.

We are aware the effort we expend in March, might not pay off for months or perhaps even years. But, one of the most important aspects of our trip to MIPIM will be visibility of our brand and our ambition.

This year is the start of a new journey for the Signature Private Finance business, so keep your eyes peeled and get in touch if you’d like to meet with us, whether you’re going to Cannes or not – au revoir.