NEW Zealand’s first Small Business Expo can legitimately claim the title as the largest event to target that sector.
Held in Auckland last month, the event attracted over 7,000 visitors — 6,044 of those small to medium (SME) business owners.
Stand-holders included big players Vodafone and Microsoft through to resellers such as Chillisoft, Portables Plus and Eagle Technology.
Organiser Sarah Trotman says she has been blown away by the reaction from the show’s sponsors, exhibitors and attendees — the majority of whom are keen to see the show extended to Wellington and Christchurch.
She wasn’t surprised IT companies were well represented as technology is a high priority with SME owners.
Jan Ferguson, Microsoft small business manager, says SMEs can often be difficult to reach. “For Microsoft the show-and-tell element was extremely important and Auckland has the largest percentage of SMEs in the country,” she says.
Ten Microsoft partners also demon-strated at the expo and Ferguson says the feedback from them has been positive, with many citing a high-quality response generating real leads.
Megan Twentyman, manager of Mistral Software, is pleased with the great response her company had at the expo.
“There is no other event on this scale and SME is such a huge market, that’s why we grabbed the opportunity with both hands,” she says.
Twentyman says that as a small business owner herself she understands the importance of anything that can help an office run smoothly and believes the answer often lies in technology.
“That’s probably why there were so many technology companies exhibiting. Talking to other exhibitors was hugely valuable.” As key Trend Micro staff were unavailable to attend, local reseller ESP took on the task of manning the stand.
Managing director John King says he came away with a stack of business cards, many of which could develop into quality leads.
“There weren’t any of the casual browsers I was half expecting, in fact all the visitors were well informed. I’m really happy with the results we achieved and am more than willing to go back next year,” he says.