E3 Expo draws a crowd

On Thursday 3 March, the inaugural E3 Business Expo took place at Macron Stadium in Bolton with representatives of more than 500 businesses attending.

A combination of stands, seminars and free business support drew crowds throughout the day, with one of the biggest draws a free question-and-answer session that looked at the interplay between traditional and digital marketing techniques. It was chaired by CIM (the Chartered Institute of Marketing).

Other seminars followed throughout the course of the Expo, examining issues such as business security, communications, cloud computing and health and wellbeing. Another particularly popular session focused on the subject of grants and funding for business, while the final session of the day featured an expert panel answering questions from the audience about internet marketing and social media.

The seminars took place to one side of the main hall, where, on more than 60 stalls, exhibitors demonstrated new products, new technologies and new solutions to the challenges of business. Alongside the exhibitors, organisations including CIM, UK Trade & Investment, the Intellectual Property Office and Companies House all took stands and provided visitors with free support, advice and information.

One of the more unusual elements of the E3 Business Expo was a Health and Wellbeing Zone, where delegates called in to receive free advice about staying healthy in their work and in their daily lives. Here, visitors also took advantage of complimentary massages and information about dealing with issues such as stress, sickness and absenteeism.

Another popular feature of the day's events was the opportunity to engage in two forms of organised networking. The 'table networking' sessions involved eight delegates per table and lasted 40 minutes each, while the conventional speed networking sessions lasted 45 minutes each and involved around 30 delegates. Both forms ran throughout the day and were extremely well attended.

In addition to the broad spectrum of North West businesses at which it is aimed, the event also attracted a delegation of Chinese business representatives from the Guangdong province of China. This was part of an international mission organised by the University of Bolton, Bolton Council and senior public figures from Sihui City, which is under the jurisdiction of Bolton’s sister city, Zhaoqing.

The E3 Business Expo was conceived and organised by 1 Events Media. Speaking immediately after the close of the exhibition, the company's managing director Mubarak Chati said: "I think anyone who attended the E3 Business Expo would agree that it was a success. For me, though, and for the whole 1EM team, I think the most gratifying thing was to see that all the separate elements worked well together. They attracted a very high calibre of visitors and then kept them busy and engaged throughout the day.

"We put a lot of thought into the structure of the event and the idea of packing everything into a single day proved to be every bit as effective as we'd hoped. It meant that there were no 'dead' periods; there was always something happening, so people were able to use their time very productively. The seminars were clearly a big part of the event's appeal but so too were the networking sessions and the free business advice clinics run by CIM and others. We gathered a lot of feedback on the day and that process will continue as we follow up with exhibitors, seminar panellists and delegates. Overall, I'm very happy with how it all went but I'm sure there will be lessons we can learn that will make next year's Expo even better." Photographs and copies of the seminar presentations will soon be available on the E3 Expo website: www.e3businessexpo.co.uk/.