One Sunderland Expo

Small businesses are being given the support they need to grow at the One Sunderland Expo.

The event has been organised by networking group One Sunderland to showcase small businesses in the city and the help available to them.

One Sunderland Award

Nicky Kilkenny from Natwest (left) and Sue Stott from One Sunderland

There will be guest speakers, workshops and a range of exhibitors – including me!

Events like this tend to be a bit too ‘corporate’ for me, but I was impressed that a number of stands at the One Sunderland Expo have been given over to ‘artisan’ businesses.

There’s also a ‘mumpreneur’ zone with a focus on setting up and running a business around family. Dads are welcome too!

This kind of support would have been invaluable to me when I was first starting out.

Business sustainability and growth

As Creative Calligraphy approaches its fourth birthday, however, my thoughts are now turning to sustainability and growth and it’s this aspect that attracted me to One Sunderland Expo.

I’ve booked up for three sessions – talks by Nickie Gott and Carol Haagensen and a session with Google Digital Garage.

Nickie, founder of She’s Gott It! Events, will share her journey from start-up to OBE and her involvement in the female business community.

Carl, from Natwest’s Entrepreneurial Spark programme, will be speaking about developing a business mindset to drive your business.

Google Digital Garage is offering sessions on building a digital marketing plan and developing a social media strategy and I’ve plumped for the former.

The other guest speakers are David Kerfoot, Graeme Tennick, Sun FM and NEPO (North East Procurement Organisation).

Business support zones

I’m also looking forward to exploring the information and advice area, which has been split into six zones.

I’ve already mentioned the mumpreneur zone, but there’s also dedicated areas for start-up, growth, funding, exporting and social enterprise.

One Sunderland Mike Dodds

Mike Dodds from One Sunderland

Mike Dodds, founder of One Sunderland, said: “At One Sunderland we are passionate about promoting local businesses.

“We encourage them to showcase their talents to other local businesses and drive sales and investment into Sunderland and the north east.

“With the One Sunderland Expo, we want to show micro, small and medium enterprises and start-ups what resources are available on their doorstep.

“We want to connect people, fill order books and win business from other local businesses.”

I’ll be demonstrating my calligraphy as well as promoting my workshops – when I’m not soaking up all the advice on offer that is!

Book your place now

The FSB (Federation of Small Businesses), Make It Sunderland, Natwest, Henderson Insurance are among those sponsoring the event.

It takes place at Hope St XChange in Hind Street, Sunderland, part of the University of Sunderland’s City Campus, on Thursday, February 15, from 10am to 4pm.

The event is free, apart from pre-bookable breakfast and lunch networking, for which there is a charge.

The One Sunderland for Business Award will also be presented on the day.

For more information, visit the One Sunderland website or book via Eventbrite.




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