Immediately following the breakfast briefing for the opening of the Festival of Business 2021 event, there was a Business Expo event aimed at at those entrepreneurs and ambitious people looking to start a business or those already in business.
More than 50 local organisations showcased themselves and were joined by representatives from the local business support group, welcomed by the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Jenny Harrison, whose charities were financial beneficiaries of a host of fund-raising throughout the day.
Oldham Council’s dedicated business support team and Get Oldham Working service, which helps local people into jobs and provides free recruitment support for Oldham-based businesses, was a prominent feature.
The Expo also offered many opportunities to network and create new opportunities for Oldham businesses.
Organiser Kashif Ashraf, who worked tirelessly to put the event together with the support of networking group Oldham Hour, and its founder and chairman Lee Hollinworth of Whittaker Design, was delighted with the response to the expo.
Mr Ashraf told Business Edge: “Oldham, like many other boroughs, has gone through a bad time during the covid pandemic, and I thought it was time to put something positive on the table.
“There was a healthy attendance all day and many businesses and support providers took the opportunity to meet, network and share their experiences.
“It was also important that there was an opportunity to share ideas on going forward.”
Pressed by Business Edge on whether the expo would become an annual event, Mr Ashraf was non-committal. “The whole day was a huge success from the breakfast briefing with the council leaders, through the expo to the dinner in the evening.
“There has not been a negative word spoken, but this was all in response to the pandemic and, hopefully, Oldham will come out of this whole covid experience strong and more together and we can get back to our well-established events in the next 12months.”