As part of the national “Keep Trade Local” initiative run by the Federation of Small Businesses, FSB Swindon is sponsoring a business-to-business trade exhibition organised by Outset Swindon during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Building Business Connections will showcase around 30 businesses and organisations at the Blunsdon House Hotel, Swindon, on Thursday 20 November from 10am to 3pm.
The entrepreneurs taking part have received free business training, mentoring and support from Outset Swindon, which is fully-funded by Swindon Borough Council and the European Regional Development Fund. Business owners had to pitch for exhibition space so they can gain first-hand experience of a trade exhibition.
According to Tania Jones, Director of Solofusion and FSB Committee Member, “Our partnership with Outset Swindon fits very well with The FSB’s Keep Trade Local campaign because small businesses are the backbone of a growing economy, generating wealth, employment and opportunity. We’re proud to invest in the growth and development of start-ups by helping them get used to trade exhibitions in a supportive environment and we trust organisations across the region will encourage local talent by doing business with them.”
Companies taking part come in all shapes and sizes from a website design service for start-ups, a cupcake maker focusing on the corporate sector, to more ambitious mainstream companies.
Helen Duxbury set up Inkfish Mobile Technology which supports individuals and businesses with Apple iPad and iPhone technology. This helps employees work remotely from the office more efficiently. Inkfish services include hardware and software repairs, App (IOS) consultancy, design, procurement and training.
Lee Hallett is another success story. He worked for 10 years in Swindon’s transport and logistics sector which has changed considerably during this period. After being made redundant and in the midst of some significant personal problems, he overcame all the hurdles, got a business loan from Outset’s sister company and set up Second Tier Support. The company name “does what it says on the tin”. Essentially Lee subcontracts to national HGV driver agencies and has 80 professional HGV drivers on his books. He places between 40 and 50 drivers daily and has to be available 24/7, even filling bookings in the middle of the night! With a collaborative rather than competitive approach, turnover has reached six figures in just 16 weeks.
Outset’s Marketing Manager and Event Organiser Jane Pearce concludes “part of our remit is to make sure these businesses are sustainable and viable in the long term so our aim is to help integrate our clients’ companies into the wider business community.” Building Business Connections will be opened at 10am on 20 November by the Right Honourable Mayor of Swindon Councillor Teresa Page. Neil Clough, (finalist in the BBC hit TV series The Apprentice 2013) will deliver the keynote speech. Familiar with adversity, his story is inspirational as he now runs a successful sales training and recruitment business.