Matthew Snelson (MCMT) with Louise Welsby (Buy-From)
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 3rd, will be targeting over 150 companies and looking for support to help them overcome issues holding them back, such as a 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 will feature talks from the Marches LEP, Shropshire Council, Shropshire Business Board and FBC Manby Bowdler.
Louise Welsby, owner of Buy-From in Bridgnorth, said: “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.”
“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.”
“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.
He said: “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 area.”
“Over £4m has been spent on creating a
“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 MCMT.
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