High praise for first Grantham Business Club expo

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The first Grantham Business Club (GBC) Expo has been hailed a huge success by both the club and business community.

In total, 46 stands were set up at the event, held in The Pavilion at Arena UK in Allington.

Grantham Business Club expo: Nikkita Nelson, Sonia Braybrook, Ian Howard and Alison Evans, of JMP

Grantham Business Club expo: Nikkita Nelson, Sonia Braybrook, Ian Howard and Alison Evans, of JMP

And they were a real mix, from care for the elderly and training solutions to floristry and the area’s largest superstore, Downtown.

Andy Hodgson, GBC chairman, told the Journal: “It’s been fantastic and I’m so pleased that so many people came to support us. Hopefully, it’s something that will run every year.

“Now, we’re looking to get positive and negative feedback so we can grow it.”

Victoria Webber, a director of Bluebird Care, a business new to Grantham, said her team had attended because it was a great networking opportunity.

She was full of praise for the expo, adding: “For us, we probably won’t get any customers from it but it’s about meeting people because we are new to the area.”

Sue Hodgson runs Flowers from Holland, in St Catherine’s Road. She said: “I’m here to network with fellow businesses in Grantham and promote what we do in a time when Brexit is beating hard on importers. I import most of my flowers through the Dutch markets.”

Sue went on to praise GBC as a “fantastic opportunity” to promote business.

There was a real buzz on social media during and following the expo. Leader of South Kesteven District Council Matthew Lee paid a visit, later tweeting: “Excellent turn out of #Grantham businesses at @GranthamBC Expo this evening. Delighted to be here.”

Reflect Recruitment tweeted: “How fantastic is @GranthamBC expo @arena_uk this evening??!!”

It was not only businesses that took up the chance to take a stall at the expo – education was included with Grantham College and the University of Lincoln taking part, while volunteer-led Grantham Museum took up the opportunity to outline its plans for the next five years.

A museum spokesman said: “From refurbishing our Margaret Thatcher exhibition to delivering our winter exhibition, Grantham Goes Shopping, we have exciting plans for the rest of 2017 and beyond.

“Grantham Museum also relaunched its corporate sponsorship programme, offering the businesses of Grantham the opportunity to partner with the museum in delivering some compelling and enlightening exhibitions of the future.”

The expo was followed by the usual GBC meeting, which included speaker Noreen Read, who is team leader and advisor for the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub. She talked to the audience about applying for grants and explained what help is available through the hub.

After dinner, European and World Para Dressage gold medallist Emma Sheardown gave an inspirational and moving talk entitled ‘No Such Word As ‘Can’t’’. Emma, who has cerebral palsy but has refused to let this stop her achieving her goals, told her story and touched on her dream of competing in the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020. Her closing lines were met with a standing ovation.

** The next GBC meeting will be held in the Guildhall Arts Centre ballroom on September 7, from 6pm, when the focus will be on skills and apprentices.