Trade shows and business events can be great places to find new customers and suppliers, as well as increase your knowledge. Here are seven to pencil into your 2017 diary…
1. The Business Growth Show
Where and when? London (Kia Oval 1 February), Cardiff (Cardiff City Stadium 22 March), Birmingham (Edgbaston Cricket Stadium 30 March) – more 2017 dates and venues TBC
Why go? The event organisers say: “The Business Growth Show is the UK’s #No1 Business Growth & Networking Expo, has been running for over 10 years and is a comprehensive portal to growing your business. Not only do we provide every avenue to assist in helping you grow your business, we ensure we attract the very best business brains.”
More information: thebusinessgrowthshow.com
2. Spring Fair
Where and when? NEC Birmingham (5-9 February)
Why go? More than 60,000 visitors usually attend and Spring Fair is billed as “the UK’s No 1 gift and home wholesale trade show for the retail industry”. It’s reported to attract purchasing power of £2.4bn, featuring 2,500 exhibitors – a must-see for buyers for gift and homeware businesses of all types. Get an early glimpse of trends for autumn and winter.
More information: springfair.com
3. The Franchise Show
Where and when? ExCeL, London (17-18 February)
Why go? Billed as the UK’s largest franchise show, it’s free to attend (more than 16,000 visitors went in 2016), and if you’re interested in becoming a franchisee you can “discover the best UK and international franchise brands”. More than 60 seminars are planned and almost 100 exhibitors will be on show.
More information: thefranchiseshow.co.uk
4. Elite Business Live
Where and when? ExCeL, London (1-2 March)
Why go? It could enable you to scale your business. Elite Business Live is “dedicated to high-growth startup and SMEs and is packed wall-to-wall with speakers, seminars, workshops and networking opportunities”. According to the organisers: “We are bringing the best of British small businesses together to discuss how to secure growth and build smarter enterprises.” Expect high-profile speakers, while 40 free-to-attend seminars are planned, as well as a range of workshops for business owners.
More information: elitebusinessevent.co.uk
5. Federation of Small Businesses Annual Conference
Where and when? Riviera International Centre, Torquay (23-25 March)
Why go? Available to FSB members only (joining for a year can cost as little as £160), the event attracts business owners from all over the UK. According to the organisation: “If you own a business or are even thinking about starting your own, make sure you visit FSB’s conference: from telecoms to transit vans, pensions to payment terminals, fintech to funding, the FSB Annual Conference has it all.” The 2016 FSB conference in Glasgow attracted more than 1,000 visitors and there were seminars on branding, pensions auto-enrolment, the digital marketplace and enterprise skills. The organisation also stages regional roadshows throughout the year.
More information: http://www.fsb.org.uk/events/2017-register-interest
6. Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival
Where and when? Harrogate International Centre (16-19 July)
Why go? Said to be the “retailers’ favourite buying event”, it showcases thousands of new brands and products. Expect more than 850 exhibitors, among which small independent retailers may be able to source new products from the tens of thousands on display and establish relationships with new suppliers.
More information: homeandgift.co.uk
7. The Business Show 2017
Where and when? Olympia London (Nov dates TBC)
Why go? “The Business Show is where businesses like yours find the next gear,” say the event’s organisers. It’s free to attend the exhibition, which takes place over two days, and “offers a wealth of opportunity, advice and information crucial for ongoing business growth within a challenging economy”. The 2016 event welcomed 25,000 businesses and 350 exhibitors, while staging 250 seminars and 12 masterclasses. The Business Startup show takes place at the same time and place.