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Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

HE lead­ing busi­ness event for small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) is fast ap­proach­ing. In just un­der seven weeks thou­sands of SME de­ci­sion mak­ers will gather at the NEC for two days of ex­pert in­sight, in­spi­ra­tion and in­no­va­tion.

The free-to-at­tend event, de­signed to help SMEs de­velop their strat­egy for growth, brings to­gether 130 speak­ers across seven sem­i­nar the­atres to present, dis­cuss and de­bate hot top­ics around the core sec­tors for busi­ness growth: fi­nance, fund­ing, busi­ness tech, mar­ket­ing, ac­count­ing and out­sourc­ing.

We take a closer look at what’s go­ing on across the two-day event: On the morn­ing of day one Pa­trick Magee, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer at Bri­tish Busi­ness Bank will take to the key­note stage to present the ‘Mid­lands En­gine In­vest­ment Fund’ aimed at boost­ing the re­gion’s econ­omy and sup­port­ing the growth am­bi­tions of 780,000 smaller busi­nesses within the re­gion.

Suresh Pa­tel, busi­ness en­ter­prise man­ager at Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil will present ‘Post Brexit Ma­jor Fund­ing Op­por­tu­nity to Grow and De­velop your Busi­ness’, where he will show­case the £33mil­lion ma­jor fund­ing op­por­tu­nity avail­able through the Busi­ness Growth Pro­gramme (BGP).

The pro­gramme has al­ready sup­ported over 200 com­pa­nies who have ben­e­fited from a share of £5.5mil­lions worth of grants cre­at­ing over 600 job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Emma Jones MBE, founder of En­ter­prise Na­tion, the most ac­tive net­work for small busi­nesses across the UK, closes day one with her pre­sen­ta­tion ‘Grab growth while you can’. She out­lines how she is see­ing small busi­nesses grow and what busi­nesses can do to make the most of live trade and dig­i­tal op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Other key­notes across the two days in­clude Craig Humphrey, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at the Coven­try and War­wick­shire LEP Growth Hub who will present ‘Es­tab­lish­ing Growth Hubs to at­tract In­vest­ment and Grow the Lo­cal Econ­omy’ and David English, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, Start Up Loans Com­pany who will present how the gov­ern­ment-backed Start Up Loans Com­pany scheme has helped busi­nesses by ex­plor­ing the mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that have helped them to be suc­cess­ful. Google will be bring­ing the ‘The Dig­i­tal Garage’ to the SME2017 ex­hi­bi­tion to show busi­nesses how to har­ness the power of the in­ter­net for growth. It will be run­ning free hands-on cour­ses from its stand through­out the du­ra­tion of the show.

Other re­cent ad­di­tions to the ex­hibitor list­ing in­clude Sam­sung and Kon­ica Mi­nolta.

Sam­sung will be launch­ing its so­cial cam­paign, where lo­cal busi­nesses can share their good day on so­cial me­dia for a chance to win free ad­ver­tis­ing.

It will also be show­cas­ing its in­no­va­tive range of prod­ucts demon­strat­ing how busi­nesses can cre­ate bet­ter ways of work­ing.

Kon­ica Mi­nolta will also be show­cas­ing and demon­strat­ing its com­pre­hen­sive SME soft­ware prod­uct port­fo­lio that pro­vides pow­er­ful in­te­grated so­lu­tions for to­day’s SME Busi­ness.

See the com­plete ex­hibitor list­ing at www.sme2017.co.uk Lend­ing has never had so many op­tions as there are to­day and many busi­nesses need guid­ing through these to en­sure they se­lect the right one for their busi­ness.

With this in mind, ‘The Meet the Lenders Panel’ brings to­gether an ar­ray of lenders to ex­plore these op­tions fur­ther.

There will be an op­por­tu­nity to pitch and get your re­quire­ments matched to the right lender.

Panel mem­bers con­firmed in­clude BizBri­tain, largest Start Up Loans De­liv­ery Part­ner in the West Mid­lands, BCRS Busi­ness Loans that meet the needs of West Mid­lands based busi­nesses that are un­able to get loans from tra­di­tional sources, ESME Loans, which work with busi­nesses over 18 months old, of­fer­ing fast decisions; Thin Cats which has ac­cess to £500 mil­lion for SMEs over two years old; and Al­ter­na­tive Busi­ness Fund­ing a lend­ing plat­form with ac­cess to 115 lenders to match the right lenders to the right busi­nesses in min­utes.

Mean­while, Suresh Pa­tel from Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil re­turns to the stage in the Fund­ing The­atre to present two fur­ther pre­sen­ta­tions ‘Busi­ness As Usual – Ma­jor Fund­ing Op­por­tu­nity in West Mid­lands’ and ‘The BGP: Pro­vid­ing SMEs with Grants to Grow’.

Suresh delves deeper into the me­chan­ics of the BGP in­clud­ing so­lu­tions for growth, up­skilling, job cre­ation and eco­nomic pros­per­ity.

Other speak­ers and ex­hibitors who will be tak­ing part to share their fund­ing and fi­nance ex­per­tise in­clude Unity Trust Bank, ART Busi­ness Loans, Cap­i­tal Step, Blue Sky Cor­po­rate Fi­nance, Al­ter­na­tive Busi­ness Fund­ing, Bri­tish Busi­ness Bank and Greater Birm­ing­ham and Soli­hull LEP.

The SME2017 Grant Hub will show­case the grants avail­able through Coven­try City Coun­cil and Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil, in­clud­ing more than 10 grants and the op­por­tu­nity to tap into a po­ten­tial £150,000 worth of fund­ing per busi­ness, at­ten­dees can check out their eli­gi­bil­ity for fund­ing by sched­ul­ing a one to one meet­ing with one of the grant ad­vis­ers on­site at the show.

For de­tails about all the sem­i­nars visit www.sme2017.co.uk.

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