Exponential growth: Local business expo spreads its reach

The Northamptonshire Business Expo is back again in November, taking place at the Holiday Inn in Corby on Thursday 22nd November.

Sponsored by Workplace Cleaning Solutions Ltd, the event will see more than 70 different businesses from the county exhibit their products and services and hundreds of people walk through the doors to visit stands, network and take part in workshops.

Google Digital Garage Google will also be running two workshops at the event covering Social Media Strategy and Writing for Social Media.

The event is the brainchild of ‘Expo Queen’ Sheila Smith of Sheila Smith Sales and Events and has grown steadily in both size and reputation since its first outing four years ago.

Sheila says: “I held my first business exhibition at The Freemason’s Hall in Northampton in 2014, which is known as the ‘home of networking’. It had 30 exhibitors and short 30-minute seminars.

“Then I left it there, as a one-off event, until I was approached in 2016 by Janette Weedall, Sales Manager at Holiday Inn Corby/Kettering. She asked if I would be interested in holding a business exhibition there and we’ve never looked back!”

 From left to right  Sheila Smith founder  of Northamptonshire Business Expo & Ann Brebner of Workspace Cleaning Solutions
From left to right Sheila Smith founder of Northamptonshire Business Expo & Ann Brebner of Workspace Cleaning Solutions

That event was the Corby Business Expo and it saw 16 businesses take stands in June that year. It generated a real buzz and the local business community embraced it. So much so that Sheila and Janette quickly decided to hold another just a few months later in November. This time the duo went bigger, doubling the number of stands to 32 and inviting Grand National winning jockey Bob Champion to deliver a keynote speech.

In 2017, the event changed its name to the Northamptonshire Business Expo and went even bigger, incorporating a line-up of speakers, the Corby Business Network networking meetings and more stands.

Sheila said: “What amazes me about these exhibitions is that every time I run one, it’s bigger than the one before. Our last one in April had 73 exhibitors and the hotel had a footfall of 1,000 visitors that day – the highest it has ever had in one day!”

The success and growth of the Northamptonshire Business Expo has attracted interest from other locations in recent months, with venues in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire also asking Sheila to run business expos there– both of which were huge successes. Sheila is also in talks with venues in Cheshire, Birmingham, Essex and Derbyshire to hold business expos in 2019.

A Bedfordshire Business Expo has also been confirmed for October this year. Taking place at The Rufus Centre in Flitwick from 10am to 4pm on Wednesday 10th October, the Bedfordshire Business Expo is sponsored by BBX UK and Ireland and again supported by Google Digital Garage who will be delivering workshops on How to Build A Digital Marketing Plan and Social Media Strategy.

Sheila said: “I was introduced to Google Digital Garage through Northamptonshire Growth Hub and they are a perfect fit for us and our target market of small to medium-sized businesses. They ran a couple of workshops alongside our most recent Northamptonshire Business Expo in April and were amazed at the footfall we had. Afterwards they said they were keen to do it again and now want to partner up on any future business expos I run, which is just fantastic!”

Aside from how well-received the events have been so far, Sheila puts the growth of her exhibition business down to teamwork. She says: “I decided about 18 months ago to bite the bullet and get some help. I employed the services of virtual assistant Kate Denne as she had a background in events. It is the best thing I could’ve done. She has been a tremendous support. She takes care of all the admin-related tasks such as taking bookings, doing the invoices and sending out emails to stand holders. She is also a massive help on the day.

“Taking on Kate has set me free! I can go out looking at new venues and meeting with potential partners and clients to sell the expo as a concept, knowing that everything else is being taken care of. The people who attend our events and book stands with us all know Kate now and she is firmly a member of the team.”

One third of stands have already sold for the November Northamptonshire Business Expo and half of the stands have sold for the October Bedfordshire Business Expo.

To find out more and to book a stand, visit www.eventssmith.co.uk