MORE than a thousand people were attending one of the biggest business events in the North West today (Friday) as Wigan borough declares it is “open for business.”
Hundreds of small and medium-sized firms were converging on Wigan Business Expo Twenty12 – believed to be the largest event of its kind in the region. It began this morning at the DW Stadium and is organised by Wigan Council.
The Expo is designed to help businesses looking to expand.
More than 130 local SMEs are exhibiting - including an award-winning independent fashion boutique, a solar panel manufacturer and one of Wigan’s oldest pie-makers. There will be a programme of seminars offering firms expert advice and opportunities to meet buyers.
As well more than a hundred SMEs attending, some of the North West’s most high-profile firms are also present including AB World Foods, Toyota, NatWest and Barclays Bank. Wigan Athletic football club is there too, as are the organisers of the Rugby League World Cup 2013, who are showcasing the competition’s trophy.
Charity Joining Jack is an official partner of the event. Its ambassadors, rugby legend Jason Robinson and former Coronation Street actress Lucy-Jo Hudson, were to be at the Expo.
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Coun David Molyneux, Wigan Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration, were opening the event.
Coun Molyneux said: “The sole aim of Wigan Expo Twenty12 is to support firms looking to expand and develop. Wigan Council is absolutely committed to supporting economic growth in the borough and doing everything we can to make sure businesses get the help they need.
“We all know the economic climate is challenging. That’s why the Expo is so important. It’s a chance for small and medium-sized firms to network, meet buyers and exchange ideas.
“Many businesses, who have attended the event in previous years, say it has helped them secure significant new contracts and make invaluable contacts.
“This is the third year the Expo has been held and already it has tripled in size. We have a waiting list of companies wanting to get involved. We know people will be attending from across the UK and as far away as Belgium.
“We want everyone to know that, even though these are tough economic times, Wigan borough is open for business and Wigan Council will do all it can to support and secure growth.”
Wigan Business Expo Twenty12 is open until 3pm today. Entry is free.
SEE THE WIGAN EVENING POST (SATURDAY) FOR A PICTURE SPECIAL FROM THE EVENT...