Exhibitors and visitors voted the 2018 We Mean Business Expo a major success with companies making contacts and celebrating a raft of new business leads.
Hundreds attended south London’s biggest free B2B exhibition at the Croydon Park Hotel. They visited more than 30 stands, packed out three business advice seminars and took part in four one-to-one speed-networking sessions across the day.
Delighted exhibitor, Nancy Stergiopoulos, area manager of Regus, an international workspace provider, said: “The Expo has been fantastic – we’ve met lots of people, had lots of interest, and done lots of business. We’ve probably spoken to about 200 people over the day and I’ve got a notebook full of hot leads for us to follow up – it’s been great.”
Sonal Shah, managing director of Synergy Nutrition, added: “I’ve really enjoyed the day – it’s been so well organised, and the seminars have been exceptional. I also made good contacts at the speed networking, so I will definitely be referring people to come along next year.”
The Expo offered exceptional opportunities for businesses of all sizes and investors across all sectors to network, do business and get advice. Delegates were particularly enthused with the three seminars featuring expert speakers and entrepreneurs.
There was standing room only left at each panel session chaired by White Label Director Jo Gumb. on; Beating Business Challenges; Women in Business; and Finance and How to Get It. The first panel of day, on overcoming challenges featured successful entrepreneurs Neelofar Khan, Managing, Director of Zabardast; Sarah Luxford, Managing Director of Global Resourcing; Sanjay Daswani, Managing Director of Voxos; and Katharine Glass, Managing Director of White Label.
Neelofar Khan’s advice for new entrepreneurs was to follow your dream but be realistic. The founder of the successful Indian food wrap group Zabardast said: “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down and fail, just keep following your realistic dream, follow your passion and have a great team of people around you.”
Sanjay Daswani, managing director, of innovative global technology company Voxos, advised: “Before you start your business make sure you do your market research, and don’t be afraid to get feedback from people close to you. But once you’ve started that journey don’t give up. You are going to hit challenges, but just keep going.”
Having belief and confidence in yourself and your ideas was the message from the packed Women in Business – How to Succeed seminar with panellists Kanchan Kamdar, manging director of APT Ltd.; Jane Knight, founder of Successful Mums; Jackie Wilding, partner, Bryden Johnson; and Saffron Saunders, centre manager, of Sussex Innovation Centre.
Rhiannon Miller, who has recently launched Luxe Virtual Assistant in Croydon, said: “It was great to see a panel of women in leadership roles and as an entrepreneur myself, they are the kind of women I look up to, so I found the session very encouraging.” The third seminar of the day, on smart ideas to fund your business, heard a range of expert advice and tips from Jes Bailey, Founder, CrowdFund 360; Debbie O’Connell, Senior Relationship Manager, Corporate – NatWest; and Keith Miller, Consultant, Croydon Loan Fund & Enterprise for London.
Ian Harris, of Croydon Business Hub and First Friday Networking, said: “I thought the seminar was absolutely excellent – it identified there is a massive need and interest in getting funding for start-up businesses. The Expo as a whole has been very good, with lots of good stands, good information, lots of visitors in a really good venue.”
Katharine Glass, manager of Expo organisers, White Label, thanked all the exhibitors and visitors to the show.
She said: “It was an exceptionally good day and many thanks to the exhibitors, seminar speakers and visitors who made it a success.”