A brand new enterprise expo dedicated to connecting businesses across Monmouthshire has been hailed as a huge success after drawing in almost 200 attendees, smashing its expectations.
Monmouthshire Business Expo was held for the first time at Abergavenny Market Hall on 6 July as part of a wider project supporting entrepreneurship across the county, Elevate Monmouthshire, which is due to run until early 2025. The initiative offers the local business community a combination of start-up programmes, bespoke enterprise acceleration and one-to-one coaching, with a number of expos also intended to help entrepreneurs and local firms to grow their network.
Firms took advantage of the opportunity to showcase and interact with their peers, with all 65 exhibition stands completely selling out and almost 120 entrepreneurs connecting at a networking breakfast event before the expo officially opened.
The showcase event was also attended by the Deputy Leader of Monmouthshire County Council and representatives from the UK Government and the Senedd, alongside the huge number of local business leaders.
The first expo was received so well that a second event has already been scheduled to take place in Chepstow in September, where at least another 50 Monmouthshire businesses are expected to exhibit.
Elevate Monmouthshire and the Monmouthshire Business Expo are being run in partnership with coworking and small business support specialist Town Square Spaces Ltd (TownSq), the enterprise accelerator programme The Alacrity Foundation and Monmouthshire County Council.
TownSq’s CEO Gareth Jones, who spoke at the expo about the company’s mission, and said: “The massive response and attendance figures to the first of these Expos shows a real appetite amongst the Monmouthshire business community to learn from and collaborate with other local entrepreneurs, and to be even more interconnected as an economy going forward.
“We’re huge advocates for making local business connections where possible, so it was great to see so many firms looking to form relationships with potential partners and suppliers within the county, which will hopefully have a positive impact on the surrounding communities here.
“Rethinking the ways that we as professionals and entrepreneurs connect with one another is at the heart of what we do, so it’s been fantastic to get so many Monmouthshire-based businesses in a room together in this way. It’s easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day tasks, but it’s so valuable to take advantage of these opportunities to get out of the office, meet with like-minded people and hopefully spark exciting new ideas or partnerships.”
David TC Davies, Secretary of State for Wales, said: “I’m delighted that the Elevate Monmouthshire programme – which has received significant funding through the UK Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund – has had a flying start and that the Monmouthshire Business Expo held in July was so well attended by local businesses from across the county.
“I was delighted to hear that attendees benefited from the opportunity to expand their professional circle, which will in turn create new opportunities for them to continue growing their businesses. This programme will support one of the Shared Prosperity Fund’s key aims of creating a supportive environment for local businesses and entrepreneurs across all areas in Wales and the wider UK.”