Firms flock to biggest-ever Norfolk Chamber B2B Exhibition
- Credit: Paul Harrison Photography
The county's biggest B2B show attracted more than 100 firms keen to underline the strength of Norfolk's business community.
The Norfolk Chamber B2B Exhibition 2018 was held at Carrow Road, with two floors of businesses seeking to make connections and forge links with each other.
The 2018 edition saw a record number of exhibitors, with the Chamber having to start a waiting list to cope with demand.
Iain Cosham, managing director of Image Display and Graphics, has been attending the events since the early 1990s, and designed stands for several exhibitors.
'It's a good opportunity to reconnect with people and network. We always get a good bit of business from it and we've usually done a bit of business for the event too,' he said.
'This year we've helped people to be a bit more interactive – just because it's a B2B event doesn't mean it can't be fun and entertaining.'
Among the attractions to entice visitors were VR racing games, ice-creams and doughnuts, putting competitions, Scalextric tracks and a range of goody bags and freebie giveaways.
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Claire Brooks, relationship director at IT firm Corbel, said she had been impressed at the upbeat mood among firms.
'It's the atmosphere and willingness to talk to each other that makes or breaks these events – and it's been really positive for us, with a lot of good conversations.'
Neil Foley, founder of Business Growth Club, was among the experts leading masterclasses, and urged firms to focus not just on lead generation but also on their sales processes.
'Price is what you pay, but value is what you get – and it's value that people care about. That's what I encourage businesses to focus on,' he said.
Nova Fairbank, public affairs manager at Norfolk Chamber, said B2B Exhibition was important for bringing businesses together.
'It shows the strength of our innovative business community, and how they must communicate and connect with each other,' she said.
'This is a prime opportunity to meet their peers and create new connections.'
Ms Fairbank said that after the success of this year's event, next year's would be 'even bigger and better'.
Best in show
A carnival-themed creation claimed the crown for best stand at the B2B Exhibition.
The celebratory vibe of East Anglia's Children's Hospices' stand was intended to promote the charity's Carnival Ball at next year's Royal Norfolk Show.
But, along with a prize wall and competitions, it was enough to see the stand named the best in show, ahead of fierce competition.
Regional fundraiser Tina Burdett said: 'We are delighted to have won, and absolutely over the moon.
'So many of these businesses support us and do fantastic work for us and so to be among them is brilliant.
'People are really engaging with the Royal Norfolk Show Ball and the fundraising for the new hospice.'
The charity is aiming to raise £10m to build a new facility for children, called The Nook.
Judges included representatives from the Norfolk Chamber, Natwest and Archant.
Andy Gray, business growth enabler for Natwest in Norfolk, said the stand was 'bright, colourful and had a real sense of fun'.