01 April 2022
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s biggest networking event returned after a two-year absence – with around 700 delegates and 80 exhibitors gathering under one roof to do business, writes Dan Harrison.
And a number of firms reported success in gaining new business leads from the Spring Expo, which took place in the Holte Suite at Villa Park – the home of Aston Villa Football Club.
The Community Games – an organisation which operates 12 community sports events across the region – were among the exhibitors.
Founder Dennis Kennedy said the Expo opened the door to potential new sponsors and partners.
He said: “From 9.30am we’ve been involved in non-stop conversations with people who either want to find out more about us, potential business partners who are interested in sponsoring the Games and people who run clubs that can offer sports and activities.
“We’ve even had a conversation with a fellow exhibitor about starting another Community Games event in a new area.”
Right Digital Solutions, a Birmingham-based provider of workplace technology, successfully used the Expo to promote its back-to-work initiative – a digital healthcheck for firms who are returning staff to the office following the pandemic.
Group sales director Tim Hubbard said: ”This is the first Expo we’ve done and it was great to be getting back out in front of people and meeting like-minded businesses.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in our return to work policy. We want to offer Chamber members a digital health check free of charge.”
The Leadership Coaches - a team of experts who help individuals, teams and organisations reach their potential – asked delegates to write down their thoughts on ‘what makes a great leader’, with the answers put on display at the exhibition stand.
Director of coaching Zoe Lewis said: “It’s been a great opportunity to network and meet potential new clients.
“We’ve also been asking people to share their thought on what makes a great leader, which has led to some interesting conversations around topics such as emotional intelligence.”
The Expo – the first of its kind since March 2020 – was sponsored by Allica Bank, finpoint, Inspired Energy and runyourfleet.
The event also featured the return of Speed Networking, as well as a comprehensive seminar programme.
Cybersecurity experts Nettitude and LogRhythm joined forces for a session on how firms should deal with ransomware attacks – with attendees receiving actionable recommendations on protecting their organisations.
Charlie Fogerty, an aspiring footballer whose life was turned upside down when he suffered a severe brain injury in a traffic accident, shared the inspirational story of his road to recovery.
Charlie has gone on to become a motivational speaker – and his ‘Anything Is Possible’ workshop told of how he got his life back on track after learning to walk, talk, eat and drink again.
Finally, Rebecca Mander of GuruYou Coaching discussed how she has used her past experiences to help leaders navigate setbacks.
Rebecca, the former boss of a global consumer goods company, was motivated to set up GuruYou after experiencing the trauma of losing a child while dealing with the demands of a high-pressured job.
She used her seminar to share tools and techniques for managing anxiety and stress – as well as advice for business leaders on why looking after themselves is “selfless not selfish”.
Pictured: Birmingham Wholesale Markets were popular exhibitors at the Expo