Businesses across Swindon gathered together for a day of networking and keynote speakers at this year’s South West Expo hosted at Steam.

Swindon businesses large and small gathered together at Swindon’s Steam Museum for the South West Expo which provides business owners with the opportunity to network with other Swindon-based companies, and receive advice on business development from keynote speakers.

Currently the largest business show in the UK more than 90 companies brought stalls to the event. Free to attend members of the public were invited to meet and greet business owners, and business owners were able to engage with potential clients. It was also an opportunity to share insider knowledge and address factors which can affect a business.

Deacon’s – a jewellery shop on Wood Street – Workshop Manager, Andy Earp, said: “This year’s been tough going – people have been thinking about Brexit, and with summer holidays coming up people are less likely to spend. Jewellery’s not a necessity, and business also goes hand-in-hand with the economy. Hopefully football will bring people back out.”

Throughout the day a variety of keynote speakers delivered presentations on their company role and their personal experiences within their sector of expertise. The speakers included Jackie Chappel, – the CEO of National Rail and Ambassador for Women in Business and National Charity Sue Ryder – and James Sinclair – known as “The Millionaire Clown” since starting up his first business when he was 15.

With Swindon named as one of the best places to live and work in the UK, and generating many new business start ups, the expo was also an opportunity to celebrate Swindon-based companies and their success. Peter Boucher, CEO at Excalibur Communications – a mobile and I.T solutions company based in West Swindon – said: “This is the sixth year we’ve been here and we’re always here, and we do very well each year.

“This time it’s a bit more home grown, full of real people from real companies. There’s lots of small, medium and large businesses here. This is a living and breathing example of Swindon – all these fantastic businesses.”

Jolyon Rose, Centre Manager at Workshed, – a company based in the the newly renovated Carriage Works, that provides small and independent businesses with office space to rent – said: “People are far too down on Swindon, but everything’s here it’s just about joining the dots. In terms of filling the gap between Bristol and London, we’re a part of that – it’s part of Swindon’s regeneration.

“In terms of Workshed it’s a great way to get out and connect with Swindon’s small businesses and creative enterprises. A lot of connections are made in our workspace, which wouldn’t happen if people are stuck at home. We’re offering a community as much as a nice place to work.”

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