MORE than 1,000 people enjoyed another hugely successful and possibly profitable Wigan Business expo.
There were five special guests too in the form of the FA Cup, Rugby League World Cup, Super League trophy, Challenge Cup and Northern Rail Cup - gathered together in the same place for the first time ever.
Every single one of the 140 stalls were filled with businesses who were there to make new contacts, forge deals and, it is to be hoped boost the jobs market.
Rebecca Slater, a contestant on BBC show the Apprentice, spoke at Expo Twenty13 which was organised by Wigan Council and the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub and is now one of the biggest events of its kind in the North of England.
The free-to-attend event went down well with all those who attended, which included local dignitaries such as Council leader Lord Smith, deputy leader Coun David Molyneux and Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue.
Ms Fovargue said: “Every year it just keeps getting better and better. It’s great to see so many businesses here as well as charities and social enterprises. It is such a brilliant event and to see so many different people here benefiting is fantastic.
“It has been such a great year for Wigan with the sporting success and so many other exciting things happening.”
Also in attendance was the new electric BMW i3, being showcased by sponsor Halliwell Jones. It gave the first opportunity for the public to see the car since its world launch simultaneously in New York, London and Beijing and delegates were able to book a test drive.
The Expo also featured seminars covering all areas of business growth, Meet the Buyers opportunities and impartial one to one advice from a range of experts.
The appeal of the Expo reached much further afield than Wigan too.
Such is its glowing reputation that many out of town firms also heading to the DW Stadium to reap the benefits.
One such business was Warrington-based Quod Strategy who specialise in financial planning, analysis and commercial decision support.
Director Richard Hornby said: “It’s a fantastic event and a great way to support local businesses.
“This is the first year we have come and is a really well run event. We attended the one in Warrington and I just googled other ones and this came up.
“It has such a good re putation and provides great support and opportunities.”