A BUSINESS festival is set to return for its second year.

The Dorset Business Festival, organised by Dorset Chamber, has launched the festival with the theme of ‘Business as a Force for Good’, from September 30 to October 10.

It will feature networking, thought leadership and celebrations based around an expo, conference and the prestigious Dorset Business Awards.

The festival follows the success of last year’s inaugural three-day event, which saw more than 1,000 businesses take part.

Ian Girling, chief executive of Dorset Chamber, said: “I am thrilled to announce that the Dorset Business Festival is returning for a second year.

“Last year’s event was a tremendous success which we are building upon this year with an extended programme of exciting events and activities over two weeks.

“We have chosen ‘Business as a Force for Good’ as our theme to champion the local business community and gain greater recognition for the role it plays in job creation, funding for public services through taxation, driving economic growth and community cohesion.

“It also reflect the chamber’s mission statement to enable better lives through business.

“Many thanks to all of our festival partners for their support. We can’t wait for the festival to begin.”

Other events at the festival include meeting the finalists for the awards, on September 10, when the shortlist is announced, a networking breakfast at Rick Stein’s in Poole and the expo at the Hilton Bournemouth, with more than 70 exhibitors on October 2.

The festival conference will take place on October 9, hosted by Declan Curry at the Hilton, before the awards ceremony on October 10.

Lester Aldridge is the premier festival partner, with Blue Financial Planning, Bournemouth and Poole College, Dorset Council and YMCA Bournemouth returning as Festival Partners.

EV specialists, ElectriX, has joined as a partner.

The conference will be launched on May 15 with more details on speakers and its itinerary.

For more information on the festival, to book places at events and to sign up to the newsletter, visit the Dorset Chamber website.