I wasn’t sure just what to expect as I arrived at my first business expo in Shrewsbury.
Approaching the door with anticipation I simply saw lots of stands, lots of people and lots of products. But what would it actually be like?
From bright coloured printed cushions to sparkling cupcakes, there was plenty to catch the eye.
I had always wondered what the small businesses in Shropshire knew about each other and how they worked together – or did they simply compete and keep themselves to themselves?
The two rooms at the Federation of Small Businesses’ expo at Shrewsbury Business Park was my answer.
The buzz, the people, the colours and the variety said it all. Each learning a little more about each other, each understanding their client base and each seeing how they might be able to work together.
It was a world I’d not been in before but the camaraderie of it all made me feel accepted straight away.
The friendly faces and the absolute determination to make Shropshire businesses a success had me caught up in the moment.
I stroked the print cushions, found out about legal advice for businesses that I am sure would be daunting for anyone starting out on their own and discovered the range of products on offer at Derwen College in Oswestry, which, as it turns out, is a lot more than just a college.
Elsewhere I found homemade vegetarian pies, hand weaved scarves and couriers as well as a community hall for hire in Whitchurch. The expo did Shropshire proud.
Everyone was shouting about the great small businesses which bring so much money into the county economy.
And they weren’t out for themselves either, it wasn’t a pushy sales pitch trying to sign you up. This was a display, a networking event, where people knew and respected each other – and even recommended each other.
Free cupcakes, beef and free pens are always a way to get people in but it was the warm people that stood behind the stands that made you want to stop, chat and learn more about them and the fantastic work going on in the county.
And if it had this effect on me, I can only hope it inspired the business studies students walking around the room just as much.
I look forward to the next!
J&PR are a Shropshire PR agency covering Shrewsbury, Telford, north Shropshire, south Shropshire and parts of Mid and North Wales. As well as working with businesses, organisations and events across the region on PR campaigns J&PR run regular DIY PR Training Courses and DIY Digital PR Training Courses at venues in the county.