Festival of Suffolk business expos reach new generation

As the country celebrates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, a county-wide ‘Festival of Suffolk’ is bringing together a range of events, including a series of business expos.

Published in Suffolk Director magazine, Summer|Autumn 2022

Festival of Suffolk Business Expos

The Festival has three strands: special events, the annual events such as the Suffolk Show and the community events such as street parties and fetes. The business expos aim to create a stronger, sustainable Suffolk for the future, with each focusing on a different industry sector.

“The intention is to inspire the next generation to look at Suffolk employment opportunities in diverse sectors and the diversity of opportunity within each sector,” explained Lisa Perkins from BT, the business expo co-ordinator. “It will also create opportunities for large and small businesses to connect and work together in the future.”

The expos are targeted at schools, colleges and, in some cases, the public. They all take place across Suffolk between the 17th June and 8th July, and bring together big companies and SMEs for a day of exhibitions, networking and events.

Expos cover:

Ports and Logistics: As part of Suffolk One’s Employability and Leadership Conference, and supported by AB Ports, Hutchison Ports and several logistics specialists, the event showcases the world of careers available in a sector that maintains the commercial lifeblood of the country.

Technology: Led by BT, the day at Martlesham features tours and careers advice for jobs in coding, programming, designing, and operations, together with an exhibition by big companies and SMEs working in the field.

Beyond Teaching: Taking place at the University of Suffolk, the day looks at career opportunities in education, not just in teaching but also as classroom assistants, and with companies involved with learning and education materials.

Other open days include: EDF hosting Energy Days, Willis Towers Watson holding a Financial Solutions Day, and Vertas focusing on Sustainable Solutions. Abbeycroft Leisure host a Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Day in Haverhill, and Jackson, the civil engineering company, will put on a day of activities for local students at its most recent development at Gateway14. Staff will showcase the breadth of careers available in the civil engineering and construction industry. Proving that actions speak louder than words, the day also include displays of operational equipment and showcased the technology employed.

One of the businesses joining in at the Technology Day at Adastral Park was Inawisdom, a leader in artificial intelligence and machine learning, helping businesses uncover insights/trends/issues and opportunities in their operations from the data they already have.

Robin Meehan, the CTO and co-founder of Inawisdom, said: “We are proud to be founded in this region and leveraging the amazing skills here. The business expo was a great opportunity to give students the chance to see how emerging technology impacts multiple industries positively, improving everyday life, and we hope it inspires them to work in the sector.”

It is hoped that the expos will create a powerful legacy of Suffolk businesses working together, as well as driving and inspiring skills across the sectors with students.

The Festival has a Legacy Fund that aims to build a Festival Fund of £5m by 2025. The fund will then be given in grants, helping charities, community groups and social enterprises working in six areas: Opportunity and Education, Health and Wellbeing, Community, Enterprise, the Environment, and Culture and Tourism

For more information, visit suffolkbusinessexpo.co.uk

Celebrating Suffolk together 

“The Festival of Suffolk is absolutely unique, and each wonderful aspect has been created by Suffolk, for Suffolk,” explained Tim Holder, Director of Communications for Suffolk Community Foundation, which is part of the Festival of Suffolk team.

“The key word here is partnership, and #TeamSuffolk has been working brilliantly together from the grassroots community level up. Essentially, everyone is bringing the absolute best of themselves to make this a magnificent celebration of everything that is great about our county.

“Many Suffolk businesses are involved, providing support and sponsorship. They’ve created headline events like the business expos through to providing financial support, specialist skills, resources and volunteering for the festival as a whole.

“From our headline sponsor TRU7 Group through to local companies supporting projects in their immediate communities, the support has been hugely positive and genuinely beneficial for the businesses themselves, staff, customers and the future wellbeing, careers and prosperity of all in Suffolk.”

The Festival of Suffolk began with a torch relay carried by nearly 200 nominated community torchbearers on a 550-mile county-wide rickshaw journey. The light source of the torch was designed by Mark Brennan from Energy on Tap in Hadleigh. The torch itself was designed and built by Andrew Dalby, CEO of Brafe Engineering in Woodbridge.

Other significant Festival events include:

  • Newmarket Racecourse held a successful Family Race Day in May
  • As part of the Festival of the Sea, the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook organised a weekend of nautical events. The Festiva of the Sea also involved Suffolk and Essex in staging a flotilla around Felixstowe, Harwich and Shotley.
  • A Suffolk Community Games Day taking place in Bury St Edmunds on 9th The day involves schools, local authorities, charities and sports organisations, including Ipswich Town, Skate Suffolk and Abbeycroft Leisure, and aims to encourage children and their families, who would not usually participate in sport, to give it a try. Sports include football, athletics, netball, swimming, boccia, climbing, paddle-boarding, BMX, skateboarding, and laser tag.
  • The Aldeburgh Bookshop has created an anthology of writings about Suffolk called ‘A New Suffolk Garland’. It is on sale and also being donated to every library and secondary school and college in the county.

What benefits will the Festival of Suffolk leave for the county in the future? The Sports Day aims to build a health and fitness legacy and, with its involvement in the Queen’s Green Canopy tree planting project, The Festival of Suffolk is building an environmental legacy, while the business expos and the Suffolk Garland book all support the themes of opportunity, education and enterprise.

For more information, visit www.festivalofsuffolk.org

Festival of Suffolk business expos reach new generation 1

Festival of Suffolk 2022. From left to right: Mark Brennan, Mark Pendlington, Guy Nicholls,  Clare, Countess Of Euston, Tim Holder and Amber Bloomfield. Credit Simon Lee

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