Firms from across Suffolk and beyond showcased their products and services yesterday at the Anglia Business Exhibition.

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The event, organised by the Ipswich & Suffolk Small Business Association (ISSBA) and previously known as the Suffolk Business Exhibition, was rebranded this year to reflect its growing reputation and support around the region.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce was again lead partner with ISSBA in organising the event, which was held at Trinity Park, Ipswich, and attracted a record total of more than 150 exhibitors.

The event was officially opened by Mark Pendlington, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, who praised the two organisations for creating an exhibition which, he said, had become important not just for small businesses but also for large firms and for anyone with a business idea.

A series of seminars and workshops was also held alongside the exhibition in a separate VIP marquee, with the speakers including Mr Pendlington, on New Anglia LEP’s plans for growth, and former Scotland rugby international Ker Tyler, who went on to a successful career in financial services, on the subject of “burn out”.

Other speakers included John Clarke of enterprise support agency NWES, who led a start-up business “clinic” and a session of accessing grants and funding, and Aidan Dunn of Suffolk County Council, on the authority’s plans to make its procurement process more assessible to small and medium-sized firms.

The county council also hosted two “Bite Sized Tender Training” workshops and a “drop in surgery” to explain its approach to sourcing.

ISSBA chairman James Davey thanked organisers, sponsors and exhibitors for their work in putting on the exhibition,

“We are absolutely thrilled by the fantastic response to this year’s exhibition,” he said. “We have seen a huge demand for stand space.

“Last year we had 136 stands; this year we have 164 and they were all sold two months ago.

“It is great to see so many businesses here today, telling the world about what they have to offer.”

The Best Stand award, judged by Mr Davey, went to Seckford Hall, with Niche Cocktails the runner-up.

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