New Expo promises to unlock the Marches’ ‘rural business’ potential…
A major new event is promising to unlock the potential of rural businesses in the Marches
when it takes place next month.
The Accelerate Business Growth Expo and Conference, which is due to be held on
November 3 rd , will be targeting over 150 companies looking for support to help them
overcome issues holding them back, including lack of skills, poor infrastructure and
broadband and where to go for essential funding.
It has been put together by creative agency Buy-From and the £4m Marches Centre of
Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT), with the latter using its 36,000 sq ft training hub to
host the mixture of networking, keynote speeches and interactive discussions.
Sponsored by NatWest, the event is just £15 to attend and will feature talks from the
Marches LEP, Shropshire Council, Shropshire Business Board and FBC Manby Bowdler.
“There’s a general feeling that more needs to be done to accelerate the growth of rural
businesses, who can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to getting the right level of
advice and guidance,” explained Louise Welsby, Owner of Buy-From in Bridgnorth.
“A lot of the time the barriers to expansion are fairly evident and can be overcome if the right
support is offered. The issue for SMEs is finding the time or the contact, who can point them
to where they can access resources and funding.”
She continued: “This was the germ of the idea that quickly grew after we realised the MCMT
had the same vision and desire to support firms across Shropshire, Herefordshire and
Worcestershire. The answer was to create a conference that could start to address these
issues – all under one roof.”
The Accelerate Business Growth Expo & Conference is looking to attract SMEs, ranging
from one-man bands to those employing up to 50 people.
Every speaker has been tasked with talking directly about what they can do to help
businesses grow, whether that be through funding, resources, training, support or vital
information about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will affect all
companies when it comes into play next year.
Matthew Snelson, MD of the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology, will also use
the event to talk about the launch of the state-of- the-art training hub that will support ‘2020
learners by 2020’ through apprenticeships and a range of upskilling opportunities.
“The MCMT will transform the way we train people in the area and ensure we not only
reverse the skills gap we are suffering from, but will also help to retain young talent in the
He went on to add: “Over £4m has been spent on creating a world class manufacturing hub
that contains some of the latest metrology, CNC machining and automation. Combine this
with the best possible learning provision and SMEs/large companies have a really powerful
opportunity to make the most of.
“Skills is only one issue and that is why we are looking at other ways of supporting the
region, including incubation space and the future introduction of an Engineering Club.
“We have a fabulous opportunity to be the ‘greatest place to live and work’…this starts by
‘growing your own and keeping your own skilled team’.”
Delegates will be given the chance to meet a number of local service providers as part of the
Expo and will also be one of the first firms in the Marches to take a ‘sneak peek’ of the
To book your place for the Accelerate Business Growth Expo and Conference, please
buy your ticket at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/accelerating-business- growth-expo-
and-conference- tickets-37275920281?aff=eac2. The cost for the day is £15, including
network, lunch and a delegate information pack.
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