On 19 March, we attended the Newcastle Business Expo at the Hilton Hotel in Gateshead. Organised by Grant Erskine, I believe this was the first time the event was held in the North East, although it is well established in Manchester.

I’ll be honest, I’m always a little sceptical of exhibiting at untried events. But I’m very pleased that it far exceeded my expectations. It was busy throughout, with a diverse range of exhibitors and a steady flow of visitors throughout.

Networking opportunities were rife, from informal gatherings by the coffee stall to the more formal ‘speed networking’ sessions. Although I didn’t get to sample these myself, they looked like great fun and a great opportunity to practise your elevator pitch.

I was also very pleased to be one of the speakers. If you came to my session on marketing strategy, thanks for coming and I hope you found it useful. If you missed it, then look out for video of the session – coming soon! There were also inspirational talks by Joanna Wake from Raw Digital on maximising LinkedIn for your business and by Grant Erskine himself on entrepreneurship.

In summary this was a very useful, very well run event and will hopefully become an annual feature. If you are running a company in the North East, you really should attend – whether as a visitor (it’s free), or an exhibitor.

If I had to pick a fault, it was the price and quality of the coffee on sale outside the hall – although it was only a short walk to the Hilton bar where a real cup was available.

If you came and chatted to us on our stand, thanks again – it was lovely to meet so many people. The prize draw to win a half-day workshop worth £200 will take place on Monday 23 March. Good luck!