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MoneyConf and EnterConf: Tycoons jet in to Belfast as 'Glasto for nerds' woos world

Thousands of delegates descend on Belfast this week for tech conferences

By Jamie Stinson

Two spin-offs of one of Europe's biggest tech events are set to hit Belfast this week, bringing with them those who run some of the world's most successful companies.

Senior figures from Amazon, PayPal, Santander, Western Union and Visa will speak at the event which has been described in the past as "Glastonbury for nerds".

MoneyConf and EnterConf are sister events of the Web Summit, which attracted 22,000 visitors to Dublin and featured speakers including U2 frontman Bono and Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria.

The two events will take place at T13 in the Titanic Quarter, and are expected to contribute £7m to Belfast's economy. The week will kick off with MoneyConf, today and tomorrow, followed by EnterConf on Thursday and Friday.

The events are expected to bring around 5,000 delegates and journalists from around the world, along with world leaders from the tech industry who will descend on the city and have left hotels fully booked.

The fintech, financial technology, events are a major coup for Belfast, which fought off competition from more than a dozen other cities across the globe to stage MoneyConf and EnterConf.

Companies from across the industry will come together to discuss the most pressing issues affecting the sector, and also will give businesses opportunities to network with tech leaders.

The MoneyConf event is where companies travel to find out the latest intelligence on the future of payments, eCommerce, cryptocurrencies and financial services.

It has been predicted the event could contribute some £25m to Northern Ireland's economy over the next three years, as it is expected to return.

Northern Ireland's burgeoning tech sector, with many of its firms based in the Titanic Quarter, will be able to showcase itself to world leaders in the digital industry.

Brian Conlon, founder of First Derivatives and the Belfast Telegraph Business Personality of the Year at this year's Business Awards, will be one local success story speaking at MoneyConf.

Visit Belfast hopes the events will be expanded in future years.

Chief executive Gerry Lennon said: "Securing events such as MoneyConf and EnterConf doesn't just simply bring delegate numbers and local economic impact - it brings new, powerful opportunities to showcase and reinforce Belfast's winning welcome, its world-class facilities and attractions, unique and diverse culture, and award-winning hospitality.

"International conferences are vitally important for our tourism development - delegates tend to stay longer, explore and spend more when they are here, and their positive experiences are more widely felt."

He said Belfast's ability to attract such high-powered events as MoneyConf and EnterConf augured well for its future as a conference destination.

"The global marketplace is getting tougher as cities and countries emerge. Belfast is outperforming others in terms of growth and we can continue to do that with the right focus, priorities, investment and activity."

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