A new Shropshire business show aimed at opening up export opportunities for firms across the county has been hailed a success.
The Business Growth and Export Show – staged by the Marches Growth Hub – attracted an audience of around 80 to Shrewsbury to hear expert advice from the Department for International Trade (DiT) and an inspirational talk from guest speaker Jo Fairley.
Representatives from DiT said they were delighted with the success of the event, which saw their special export truck packed out for a morning-long presentation and a number of new companies signing up for help to break into the export market.
Jo Fairley, co-founder of global chocolate brand Green & Black’s, praised the work of DiT and the Marches Growth Hub, and urged businesses to take advantage of all the help on offer to grow and begin trading overseas.
"I am a huge supporter of the work the growth hubs do and would urge every one of you here today to make the most of the expert free advice the Growth Hub can provide. I certainly wish that it had been around when I was starting out in business."
Jo described how she had taken the chocolate brand from its launch in a bedroom of a flat in the Portobello Road to a globally-respected ethical brand now worth nearly £100million.
Her advice for exporting would be to not say yes to everybody when considering trading overseas.
The November 23 show at Shrewsbury Town’s stadium also featured an expo, networking event and interactive displays, and marked the start of the hub’s major Get Exporting campaign.
Paul Hinkins, Chairman of the Marches Growth Hub and vice-chairman of the Marches LEP, said the event had been a huge success.
"We were delighted to see so many new companies exploring the possibilities that exporting can bring, and Jo Fairley’s talk was both inspirational and practical, offering real-world advice and experience about growing a small business into an international brand."
The event was also supported by Shropshire Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses.