The Main E-vent: Stowmarket Chamber Draws A Crowd

“Brilliantly organised.” “I loved the concept and the opportunity to mix with other businesses.” “Bounce Back was brilliant – I didn’t want it to end!”

Just some of the feedback to Stowmarket & District Chamber of Commerce after their three-day ‘Bounce Back for Business’ event. When Covid restrictions prevented the Chamber from re-staging their successful Mid-Suffolk Business Exhibition, they went virtual instead – with resoundingly successful results.

‘Bounce Back for Business’ quickly appeared as an online e-vent sponsored by In Touch, ISSBA, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Stowmarket Town Council, Mid-Suffolk District Council, Brightside Wealth Management and Andrew Bingham Funeral Services.

How it worked

The e-vent was based around the Chamber’s exhibition website at www.msbe.biz, originally built to support the live event. It’s still open, so why not check out all the businesses that made it such a success?

The live event involved two-hour Zoom sessions on each of three days. Each session included two chat-show style sponsor interviews, with plenty of time for introductions (in the main session) and small group chats in breakout rooms. With dozens of visitors attending, that led to many valuable connections – and a good deal of new business.

What we learned

On the first day, Andrew Bingham talked about the considerable challenges of running a funeral business in the pandemic. His conclusion? “Just serve the people you serve” and do the best you can to meet their needs. Then Stuart Franklin from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce talked about how members had met the Covid challenge and how the Chamber had been able to help them.

In Wednesday’s session Daren Stainton from In Touch magazine talked about the lessons learned from lockdown, and what businesses need to bounce back – something the magazine has done a great deal to assist, not least with their active help in promoting the e-vent. Later David Marsh described how Stowmarket’s Regal cinema had (quite literally) risen from the ashes after a disastrous fire and was now relaunching again, despite the challenges of lockdown, with two additional screens and a new cafeteria.

Finally, on Thursday, Olivia Higson from Brightside Wealth Management talked about financial planning during and after lockdown, and the lessons learned along the way. Then Tabitha Runacres from Mid-Suffolk District Council finished the e-vent with a bang, introducing the new Virtual High Street scheme for Stowmarket. This online tool – developed at Stowmarket’s Innovation Labs – is set to boost high street businesses with a massive, combined online presence, even if they don’t yet have a website.

Missed it? Then why not try one of the Chamber’s regular networking events? They’re open to all – just book your place at: www.stowmarketchamber.co.uk

Exclusive to In Touch readers: Attend your first networking meeting at a discount! go to www.stowmarketchamber.co.uk/In-Touch-offer for details.

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