May 01, 2018 Business

The organisers of Peterborough’s newest business show and networking event have dramatically increased the number of stands on offer for next year’s show following the huge success of this year’s event.

The Peterborough Biscuit was first held in February 2017 at the East of England Arena and Events centre with the objective of creating a new style of business event that was fun but productive.

The second Peterborough Biscuit event in February 2018 built on the first year’s foundations with double the number of exhibitors and visitors and was a huge success with a buzzing atmosphere.

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It was the brainchild of Stephen Smith of Sphere RHSM and his wife Sharon, who were tired of seeing the same faces at the usual ‘dry’ business events and high costs which often meant many local companies couldn’t afford to attend.

Now dozens of local companies have already signed up to the third event being held on February 6, 2019 which has expanded to offer space to 326 exhibitors.

Organiser Edward Smith told ESP – “We are back to bring together the local business community and to provide them with a place where they can do business, make connections and learn from other business owners who have been where they are and where they may be in the future.  

“We are the cheapest exhibition around and we are the largest, with stands starting at £99+VAT. We have also become a hybrid event which not only includes a fabulous B2B, B2C exhibition but also a day filled with fun, games, competitions and The Peterborough Biscuit Mascot Race, which is the first of its kind at a business expo.”

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Local actor and Hollywood star Warwick Davis, well known for his roles in Harry Potter and Star Wars, was there in support of his charity Little People UK which had a stand. Warwick told ESP the event offered plenty of benefits to charitable organisations as well as businesses.

“As a charity you have to get out into the communities locally and nationally otherwise you get forgotten about. It’s really important to be proactive – you can’t expect people to come and find you and donate and help you out. People that need your assistance as a charity, yes they’ll seek you out – but if you want donations and things like that you’ve got to go out and get them and become part of your local community so I’d definitely recommend other charities do the same. We were able to connect with companies… so we started some really good business relationships.”

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New businesses keen to make a mark included Metro Bank, and Commercial Banking Manager James Drury told ESP it was a great way to get their name out there.

“There’s a wide range of different businesses here and personal customers that we can help so absolutely, we’ve had a great response and there’s lots going on. 

“It’s a great layout it’s easy to navigate around but I think there’s just a really good energy in the room with everyone and I think that makes a difference. These things can be quite samey but I think the energy in here and some of the activities to keep the energy high is really good.”

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There were many exhibitors returning for a second time including Dalrod and General Manager Jon Kynaston told ESP it had proved to be a great networking opportunity.

“Networking’s really important, we came least year and it was a great show we got some great leads from it. We’ve got three stands this year and we’re looking to network and pick up more relationships.

It is quite relaxed and Steve who organised the event has done a great job.

I think it will go from strength to strength.”

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Neil McCulloch MD of Insurewise Ltd agreed – “This year we’ve had a really good exhibition, we really enjoyed it and we’ve got quite a lot of contacts and leads so we’ll definitely come back next year.

“It’s important to network it’s also important to be here and show off your brand. It’s well organised, it’s a great turnout so we’ll definitely be back.”

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The Peterborough Biscuit offered a diverse range of exhibitors to keep visitors interested including a display by Balderston Motorcycles and sales executive David Cunningham said it was another outlet to get in front of different customers – “Hopefully it puts the product in front of people who wouldn’t obviously be looking at a motorbike today. There are lots of people who know where we are and what we do, but there’s an awful lot of other people that still don’t know we’ve been in Peterborough for 79 odd years. Most people who buy motorbikes tend to have good jobs and careers so it’s relevant.”

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Andrew Masters, membership advisor for the Federation of Small Businesses visits many of these events but says the Peterborough Biscuit stands out from the crowd – “It’s been very, very good, we’ve had great footfall by the stand and we’ve met a lot of interesting people, we’ve got a lot of leads to follow up so we’re very  pleased.

It’s completely different to the normal kind of stuffy business show – there’s a lot going on and I think that’s reflected in the diversity of businesses that are here as well.

“We all rely heavily on the internet but there’s still really no substitute for actually speaking to somebody.” 

If you want more information please call 01733 669405, or look on their website www.peterboroughbiscuit.co.uk.

Photos: Chris Brudenell