My first day at MIPIM was an eventful one!

First of all, what were my first impressions.....

It’s vast. I’ve visited Cannes a number of times so I know the area a little and I didn’t expect it to be so sprawling. MIPIM consumes the area with many of the beautiful hotels on the front adorning the brand of some of the biggest investment and real estate companies in the World. Real Estate is big business and this is a global event. So maybe I was naïve, but it’s impressive.

It’s also the event to attend and to showcase for many businesses. The amount invested in this week by many businesses is simply staggering.

There are also an unbelievable amount of people with different backgrounds, and you don’t know who they are and what they do until you ask them. We got talking to Russian investors, a Slovenian Mayor, investment badvisors, lawyers, data analysts and many business development and marketing people.

It is also apparent that this is very much a male dominated industry. Nothing particularly insightful there but I have a feeling I will have more to write about this subject as the days roll on.

I've also had an epiphany... I'm thinking of quitting recruitment and going in to the tailoring business, and with a niche. Navy suits. There seems to be an insatiable appetite for them at MIPIM. And yes, I too was wearing one.

So, what did we achieve? Due to transfers, we were 40 minutes late for our first meeting which happened to be lunch on the beach with an MD of a European Real Estate business. The setting was unbelievable, the weather was stunning and the company was excellent. We learned a huge amount about the individual and his business and we will certainly be working together in the future. I personally hate being late but the client was fine - I think the sun, sand and ambience helped!

Once we had settled the rather eye watering bill (actually, I may open a seafront restaurant too to add to my tailoring business) which didn’t include wine, I hasten to add, we headed to what is known in the world of MIPIM as “the bunker” which is the Palais Des Festivals and where the actual conference takes places.

There we met with a new client in the Midlands which was useful in helping to cement the relationship we have taken weeks to build which was great. Two minutes later, we were talking to the MD of one of Harper Harrison’s best clients for half an hour. Somebody we already spend a lot of time with but it just feels good to be out here and having the chance to engage at MIPIM. Following this, we were treated to a fascinating talk on Manchester.

All of this took place between 1pm and 5pm, so a busy afternoon.

After all this we needed a quick pit stop. The Yachts were all lined up as expected with several bearing the name of the organisations who have chartered them, but one stood out. It was busy, lively and looked more of an open networking place. Or so we thought. Amie and I approached and asked if we could introduce ourselves to those on board and five minutes later, we were aboard a super yacht! It was supposed to be invitation only but it was fairly relaxed.

Whilst this was pretty awesome as experiences go, being true to ourselves, it wasn’t really time well spent. The champagne was flowing (and on the house!) and the people were lovely, but it wasn’t our target market and we politely thanked the hosts and made for the exit after one quick drink. Time is pretty precious at MIPIM and you have to spend it wisely!

Following a quick bite to eat to compare notes and plan who we wanted to try and meet during Wednesdays down time, we hit Cafe Roma, the unofficial afternoon beer spot just outside the venue. Introducing ourselves to a number of random people is always interesting and a number of very relevant business cards were obtained. 

Then it was on to the Ritz Carlton for the MIPIM opening party, a lavish setting with champagne and canapés flowing freely! This was a great event with a “first timers” area which was a really good concept.. but busy to say the least.

The night ended at 10pm for us. Tomorrow I expect will be later but having been up since 4.30am and with a busy day ahead, we made the right call. The short taxi ride home was very lucrative for the taxi firm - I made a decision there and then that I would add a Cannes taxi company to my Cote d’Azure portfolio, which so far includes a navy suit tailoring service and a beach side restaurant. Business looks strong!

Roll on Wednesday.