“It’s all about increasing revenue for social enterprises by making new contacts, inter-trading and raising their profile on the region stage,” says Val Jones, Chief Executive at Social Enterprise North West, “as the trade fair is the best, and most cost effective way for social enterprises to come to the attention of potential customers and funders.”
Exhibition stands for the fair, which is now in its third year, are selling fast as delegates are keen to replicate the success of last year’s event in Liverpool.
There’s a host of opportunities to hear keynote speakers from the sector and attend a range of workshops that will benefit their business including European franchising, finance, leadership and promotion.
Invited guests include Peter Holbrook from the sector’s national body, Social Enterprise UK, Sarah Flood from the Social Investment Business and former contestant on TV’s The Apprentice, Claire Young.
The specialist workshops will be taken by leading industry experts including Matt Smith whose experience at the Key Fund has seen more than £7million investment in social enterprise and Daniel Lindgren from Sweden who runs a franchised social enterprise hotel.
Val Jones added: “In tough economic times, we are encouraging social enterprises to come out fighting and take advantage of all the opportunities that will be available at the trade fair. It’s a once-a-year chance to network with colleagues, meet new contacts, share knowledge on current thinking from funders and get inspiration for new business ideas”.
New figures show how resourceful the social enterprise sector has become in dealing with the current financial climate. The latest SE100 Report by RBS shows the top 100 social enterprises in the UK reported a combined growth of 51% last year. That compares with just 5% growth from FTSE 100 companies.