23 May 2013

Suffolk Business Exhibition 1 May 2013

By Rachel Sloane

Report for ISSBA Newsletter, May 2013:

Aching feet, a hoarse voice and a facial expression stuck permanently in a smile. Yes, the Suffolk Business Exhibition (SBE) is over for another year. Hopefully your pile of business cards, new contacts  and possible leads,  mean that the hours standing by your stand or walking up and down the aisles were worth any suffering!


The exhibition has now been going in one form or another for 17 years and since it moved to Trinity Park has grown bigger and more ambitious each year. This year, a programme of workshops, two halls, a marquee and exhibitors networking breakfast  were joined by a new high-tech registration system. We now have accurate figures so. can confidently say that just under 1000 people attended over the 12 hours that the doors were open.


 Offering members of ISSBA and the Chamber of Commerce  the chance to exhibit at a very competitive price, for smaller businesses especially, the SBE offers the opportunity to take part in a very professional exhibition at an affordable rate.


Assigned to the ISSBA stand, I got the chance to speak to visitors and exhibitors and heard at first hand that the former were surprised with variety of businesses that were present, and the latter reported that they were delighted with the level of interest generated. One told me he had had more enquiries in one hour than a full day at another recent similar exhibition. Time and again  I heard that what was particularly pleasing was the friendliness of those involved or visiting.


Stall-holders excelled themselves in their attempts to attract visitors attention. With  colourful displays,  zany competitions (including treasure hunts, paper crowns or windmills to make),  cocktails to sample and more sweets and cupcakes than anyone could ever eat, there was plenty for the visitors to enjoy as they networked, spotted opportunities and talked, talked, talked.


As always lessons have been learnt from feedback received.  Perhaps the event could end at 6pm rather than 7…. Maybe people are too busy to attend a full programme of workshops…and more space is needed for the breakfast as it was so popular…  The ISSBA committee have plenty to discuss ready for 2014.


A huge thank you to Kim and Boleyn Events, the students from UCS and  everyone who helped, exhibited or came as a visitor to Trinity Park. The number of people who have already expressed an interest in having a stand next year, committing to three years or signing up for sponsorship deals, prove that the SBE is an established and vital date on the Suffolk business calendar. 

Rachel Sloane, Committee Member