Ukraine’s largest annual business forum returns this October in Donetsk. Expect roundtable discussions, great networking opportunities and a lively exchange of ideas as international business executives, bank managers and state leaders gather at the Expodonbass centre.

2014 marks the seventh annual International Investment Summit in Donetsk. Whether you’re a regular participant or attending for the first time this year, here’s what you need to know about the event.

Attending the summit

The International Investment Summit has become a yearly fixture in Donetsk. First convened in 2008, the summit provides a platform to discuss Ukraine’s economic development. Programmes also include relevant and locally significant issues like sustainability and energy efficiency. Past summits have included exhibitions on the investment potential of Ukrainian cities and districts, along with development and investment proposals. Based on previous events, expect sustainable development issues like ecosafety and renewable resources to feature prominently in the discussions.

Visiting the exhibition centre

The Expodonbass Exhibition Centre is one of Ukraine’s largest exhibition centres. With 32,000 square metres of exhibition space spread over three floors, it’s a pretty impressive space. Most of the 20 or so major events held annually are related to the region’s most vital industries, including mineral resources and mechanical engineering. The exhibition centre is easily accessed from our Park Inn by Radisson Donetsk in the heart of the city.

Significance of the region

With roots dating back to 1869, the city of Donetsk grew out of the mining and metallurgical industries established in the area. Built on the region’s rich mineral deposits, those industries continue to thrive, attracting a diverse array of business interests from around the world. Donetsk and the surrounding area now have economic ties with companies in over 140 countries. It’s a thriving hub of finance and research, as well as the centre of the Ukraine’s coal industry.

From coal to culture

Despite its industrial roots, the mining capital has earned a ‘green’ reputation for its roses, lush gardens, and an abundance of parks. Today, Donetsk’s green spaces often serve as the backdrop for artistic and cultural displays. One of the best known examples is the Park of Forged Sculptures, where hundreds of statues celebrate Donetsk’s metal-working heritage. On Pushkin Boulevard, one of the city’s major traffic arteries, you’ll find a fountain featuring a replica of Mertsalov’s Palm. Famously taking the top prize at Paris’s 1900 International Industrial Exhibition, the Palm is a celebrated symbol of Donetsk and its mining industry.

Another fountain worth visiting sits at the entrance of Donbas Arena. Shaped like a football, this 28 tonne sculpture is the world’s largest revolving granite sphere. If you’d rather catch a ballet than a performance of Shakhtar Donetsk FC, head to the State Opera and Ballet Theatre. Home to the internationally known Donetsk Ballet, it’s the best place to learn about the company’s long history.