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Economic 'optimism and bouyancy' at Wycombe Business Expo
WYCOMBE’S business world was abuzz this week as an event dedicated to showcasing all the commercial opportunities the district has to offer took centre stage.
Traders and business leaders from across the area descended on Adams Park for the fourth annual Wycombe Business Expo on Tuesday.
The event, previously held at Cressex Community School, got off to a brisk start with plenty of visitors flooding through the doors.
Elton Boocock, MD of Urban Media and a key event organiser, said: "It’s very, very good. It’s a lot bigger than last year – we’ve already seen brilliant responses for exhibitors and also for visitors.
"There are more people than last year, we had more pre-registered visitors and you can feel that making a difference. It’s good – running well."
Mr Boocock and his team had a Wizard of Oz theme to the Urban Media stand, with Dorothy, a Tin Man and a Wicked Witch all helping attract passers-by.
Exhibitors on the day included the 4C organisation, which acts as a broker between businesses trying to fulfil their corporate social responsibilities and charities in need, Buckinghamshire New University, Marlow FM, which broadcast from the event, Buckinghamshire Business First , the Federation of Small Businesses, Buckinghamshire Library Service and many more besides.
And there was a definite mood of optimism at the event, with many believing the local economy is taking an upswing.
Among the event's sponsors was Wycombe District Council. Cllr Hugh McCarthy, cabinet member for strategy, said: "We have a record number of new business formations. There were 542 new business creations in the first six months of this year – the highest rise in the district’s history."
Cllr Tony Green, cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, added: "Talking to businesses here there’s an optimism and a buoyancy there wasn’t last year. The economy has turned and it’s starting to pick up. It affects business first and then takes a couple of years to filter through to everyone else."
Throughout the event were a series of talks, and a ‘Question Time’ style panel which included former BFP editor Steve Cohen, Chief Inspector Colin Seaton and Marlow FM MD Tim Ashburner.
Marlow Sports Club was among the organisations attending, largely to promote the corporate days it can offer its facilities up for. Commercial director Graham Sweet said: "It’s our first time here – I didn’t know what to expect but there has been a good lot of people coming through."
Paul Sambrooke, club chairman, explained the corporate days would help to pay for the introduction of special needs facilities at the club, and also to help keep costs down for existing members.
Buckinghamshire Business First reported good results at the event, with new members being recruited and the organisation, dedicated to boosting the fortunes of businesses in Bucks, raising awareness of its work among other firms.
Rob Andrews, information services manager at Wycombe Library, was on hand to promote a little known aspect to its service – the library’s ability to compile lists of businesses on a national scale, according to a range of criteria such as geography or industry.
He said: “It’s really interesting. Not many people know about our service. It’s really useful to push our business stuff – it’s been really worthwhile being here.”
Steve Jewell, business development executive at Urban Media seemed may have seemed like he was out looking for a heart, but his Tin Man costume was part of a wider theme – of prospective customers needing a wizard to sort out their IT concerns.
He said: “It’s been a lot of fun- something for people to get involved in and a good way of being remembered. It’s been really good – a cracking chance to meet people.”
The chosen charity for the event was Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance which was also in attendance to boost its profile and forge links with businesses.
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