Uckfield Civic Centre is buzzing this morning with a business expo well under way there.
Thirty businesses from Uckfield and beyond have stands to promote their work, early-bird talks have already taken place, and a Tigers Pen, variation of Dragons Den, is new this year with a £5,000 prize up for grabs by a start-up entrepreneur who impresses judges.
Later, from 1.30-2pm there’s to be a speed networking session.
This is the first time the Net XP expo has been held at the Civic Centre and organiser Sonny Cutting says the move from East Sussex National has been a good one with more visitors arriving from early in the day.
Laura Manton, a director at Dawson Hart solicitors who have sponsored the refreshments agreed.
She said: “While East Sussex National is a lovely venue I think some people were put off having to travel there. Already there seems to be a better feel about the event here.”
Dawson Hart is promoting its wills and probate service, particularly contentious probate where issues are raised relating to the validity of a will.
Also among exhibitors was Uckfield Chamber of Commerce.
Sonny Cutting said he is always looking for new ways to spark additional interest in his business exhibitions. As well as the East Sussex Expo he organises events for West and Mid Sussex, and a Sussex conference.
Interest is growing in The Tigers Pen idea but no Uckfield entrepreneur has put themselves forward to test their ideas yet.
Prize to double
Sonny says that next year the prize will be doubled to £10,000 so he hopes locals will come forward then.
Also next year he plans to introduce a Directors’ Hub.
He said about 25% of the businesses exhibiting at the Civic Centre are from Uckfield. The remainder are from across Sussex, including Brighton, Eastbourne, Burgess Hill, and Haywards Heath, all wanting to meet local people and as they build their businesses across the county.