Staffordshire's first business festival is a success, say organisers

STAFFORDSHIRE'S first business festival attracted more than 3,000 people and had a major impact on business in the county, organisers say.

Since the event, a number of firms have reported winning new business, meeting new business partners, recruiting new people, more enquiries and agreements to take on more apprentices as a result.

And following its success, the festival will be held again next year.

There were 78 events during this year's two-week festival, including workshops, business breakfasts, factory tours, careers fairs and conferences.

The aim was to showcase Staffordshire's products, services and talent, with the support of headline sponsors Keele University and Staffordshire University, alongside Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council.

Sara Williams, chief executive officer of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said: "We wanted to connect the business community across the whole of the county, as well as showcasing to those outside Staffordshire the opportunities locating here presents. To hear from those involved that tangible benefits are already being seen, is simply fantastic.

"The festival was created in a bid to bring together what is a fantastically diverse business base across Staffordshire and we believe that it has done just that."

The festival also created networking opportunities, enabling businesses to meet more than 1,000 young people through careers fairs and undergraduate business events.

Rachel Wallace, head of communications at Staffordshire University, said: "It's important for us to keep trailblazing new ideas and we took the opportunity to launch our higher and degree apprenticeships, which resulted in new business connections."

Dr Mark Bacon, Keele University's director of engagement and partnerships, said: "The opportunities available through our support programmes has increased considerably thanks to the introduction of our Business Gateway, and we look forward to collaborating with entrepreneurs, innovators and SMEs to support their growth."


Sophie Attwood