Biggest business event going international
The Small Business Expo, the country's largest event for business, went national for the first time last year and attracted larger than expected crowds with more than 13,000 business people attending at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Hon. Phil Goff, Minister for Trade and Small Business Expo organiser Sarah Trotman at the Small Business Expo 2007 in Christchurch
Now small business sector specialists Sarah Trotman and Associates have taken the concept overseas and are franchising the event through New Zealand's leading franchise company Franchize Consultants.
Trotman attended the Business Startup Expo at Olympia in London and the International Small Business Conference in Glasgow this year and says the Small Business Expo stacks up extremely well against these international events. "We plan to invite a number of APEC SME leaders and managers charged with looking after SMEs in the EU to attend the 2008 Small Business Expo and Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards to see for themselves that we are indeed world class," she says.
She is confident the franchise package which includes the Small Business Expo, the Excellence in Business Support Awards and the Your Business Your Way expo magazine will work as well internationally as they have in New Zealand. These three business support initiatives will be offered as a total business support package for franchising through Franchize Consultants.
"It's a very exciting development for us," she says. "Our business model has moved forward at a very rapid rate over the last three years and we expect there to be significant interest from overseas, especially Australia. We have the country's largest database of business owners who are pro-active in growing their business and the ability to build a similar database in other countries will undoubtedly be a major attraction for franchisees."
Franchize Consultants Managing Director Win Robinson says he applauds Trotman for her ambition to export offshore and for the structured manner of her approach. "She has something of real value that has been proven over the past few years here in New Zealand and she is now meticulously planning and preparing her company's expansion overseas."
Trotman says the key to the success of the Small Business Expo, one of the offering, is that the exhibitors offer excellent-quality business support products and services, the expo runs useful free seminars and onsite initiatives throughout the event and the entire expo is aimed at providing a quality experience for business owners. "This formula works well here and should work equally well internationally.
"I expect our 2008 expo to build on the successes of last year when it went national and provide more of the much needed inspiration for business owners with our aim again to invite excellent keynote speakers and provide great networking opportunities for the people attending," she says.
Ninety-five percent of all New Zealand's businesses employ 19 people or less, which classifies them as small to medium-sized enterprises and these are the people the Small Business Expo is aimed at Trotman says.
"These enterprises account for nearly 40 percent of New Zealand's total value-added output and employ 30 percent of all employees so are an important contributor to our economy and it is vital that these businesses keep up with new ideas and products and services.
"Exhibitors at the 2008 Small Business Expo will range from software to telecommunications, courier services to legal and financial advice, education specialists to office equipment, so there are many opportunities for business owners to investigate the best options available to help them grow their business in one easy-to-navigate location," she says.
The National Bank Seminar Series will be running for the duration of the expo with 40 experts giving free seminars on subjects of interest to small business owners.
The Small Business Expo is being held at Auckland's ASB Showgrounds from Auckland April 16, 17, 18; at the Christchurch Convention Centre from May 20, 21, 22 and in Wellington at the TSB Arena on June 25, 26, 27. Information on the Small Business Expo is available through the website www.businessexpo.co.nz. People can get information on entering the Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards at www.excellenceinbusinesssupport.co.nz