Over 1,000 people are expected to pass through the doors of the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe for Durham Oktoberfest, which is now in its ninth year. The event sees hundreds of employers come together under one roof in a bid to win new contracts and source potential suppliers. It was set up in 2008 to showcase the North East’s world class strengths within the engineering and manufacturing sectors.
David Land, Chairman of County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN) which organises Durham Oktoberfest, said: “Engineering and manufacturing companies make a huge contribution to the region’s economy, employing thousands of people in a diverse range of disciplines.
“We want to support them to continue to grow and to do that inter-trading is crucial. That’s why Oktoberfest is so important, as it brings together employers of all sizes who are given the chance to promote their services and, more importantly, secure new contracts.
“Each year we hear from companies who have grown as a direct result of attending Oktoberfest, companies like EDM Zone, Altec, E-MAX Systems and Dyer Engineering, who have seen their client portfolio expand because of introductions they’ve made at the event.”
E-MAX Systems Commercial Director Zeynel Badak said: “We have won numerous contracts as a result of Durham Oktoberfest over the years and that’s why we’re returning this year.
“It really is the perfect platform for us as we know we’ll have the opportunity to meet businesses who could potentially become our customers.
“The calibre of businesses that attend is particularly high and I think that’s why so many employers from the region support it. We will certainly be back next year and would urge other employers to do the same.”
Roger Wilson, business development and marketing manager at EDM Zone, said: “We didn’t know what to expect from Oktoberfest but were so impressed that many of our existing clients were there, which gave us the opportunity to tell them more about the many services we offer, as they don’t realise our expertise is as vast as it is.
“It also got us in front of potential clients from the widespread sector, that otherwise we might not have had the chance to meet.”
Durham Oktoberfest 2016 takes place on Thursday, October 20, at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe and already dozens of businesses have booked their exhibition space.
This year’s event has also secured more sponsors than ever before.
Business Durham is once again gold sponsor, reaffirming its commitment to supporting the event as it has done each year since the inaugural Oktoberfest. Silver sponsors are Altec Engineering, Samuel Grant Packaging, Hitachi Tool, and Stadium Export Services, with more names expected to be confirmed over the coming weeks.
Simon Goon, Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “Durham Oktoberfest is the most important date in the engineering and manufacturing calendar, giving employers of all sizes the chance to promote their services and put themselves in front of potential customers.
“Business Durham has supported the event from day one and is once again gold sponsor, backing up our commitment to helping this event become bigger and more successful each year.”
The event line up has also changed this year. After last year’s successful Automotive and Advance Science Park (AMAP) workshop, which was hosted by keynote speaker Professor John MacIntyre, themed seminars are being added to the 2016 line-up. The workshops will focus on areas which will directly benefit businesses, including social media, business development and manufacturing growth. A number of external partner organisations will deliver them.
David Land added: “Every year we gather feedback from exhibitors and attendees about the event, so we can find out what works and improve our offering.
“One of the elements which proved particularly popular in 2015 was the AMAP workshop. Feedback suggested similar workshops in other areas that affect businesses would be well received, so we’ve added three to the event agenda.”