Our guide to CambsB2B 2023 as it returns to help fire up the local economy
The return of the CambsB2B event this month is designed to help businesses source locally – and fire up the region’s economy.
The legacy event is returning after four years on Wednesday, November 22, when an anticipated 800 people will flood into the Imperial War Museum in Duxford between 10am and 3pm.
A large exhibition hall will be supplemented by a People & Productivity Zone, exploring key issues affecting employers right now, and there will be informative presentations, advice rooms on important topics and the event’s legendary speed networking session – and it’s all free to attend simply by registering at cambsb2b.co.uk.
It is being organised by the Cambridge & South Cambs Committee of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce and is proudly supported the Cambridge Independent, and its sister magazine iQ, which will be among the exhibitors on the day.
Faye Holland, chair of the committee and director of integrated communications company cofinitive, says: “It’s about getting the local ecosystem talking and encouraging people to think local.
“It’s good business to leverage resources locally, not just because it supports the local economy but it’s also really important for climate change and sustainability.
“We’ve got 21 main sponsors and more than 80 exhibitors across all sectors – public, private and third sectors.”
From law firms and accountants to marketing and design, and from coaching and training to venues, a wealth of B2B services will feature in the exhibition hall.
The chamber has 836 member companies, representing 95,800 people in the region – a large representative body, but a fraction of the overall business population.
By bringing businesses – both members and non-members – together to network in a physical environment, the chamber hopes to continue to extend its impact.
And the chamber believes that providing a showcase for the goods and services available on our doorstep will help foster greater collaboration, reducing supply chain costs, cutting carbon emissions, supporting the community and bolstering local employment.
Faye says: “Putting together the right programme and testing the updated approach with some of our regular contributors has taken time and effort, and we are thrilled with the consensus to help businesses to be more resilient and sustainable.
“We didn’t just want an exhibition floorspace, we wanted added value too.
“In the conference room, we’ll be looking at the big topics and what businesses are worried about. Inflation, interest rates, cost of living, energy bills, tax – these are challenges not just from a business’s point of view, but also for their employees. And if employees are worried about their finances, it can also impact productivity.”
Price Bailey will discuss UK tax legislation support for SMEs and business owners, while Mills & Reeve will deliver a masterclass in investing in people. You can find out what you can do during the energy crisis from the Energy Saving Trust, then learn how to maximise productivity from Joe Moore, of 4DW. And there will be some creativity in the approach to make the day both fun and useful.
“When you have an exhibition hall, it can be difficult to hear talks, but we’ll be doing it in a silent disco style,” explains Faye. “You’ll go into a dedicated zone and get 15 minutes of really tactical insight from a speaker, so it will be quite different.”
Given the encouraging response to its return, it is no surprise to hear that CambsB2B is set to become an annual event once again.
“Each year we want to have a zone with a theme that members will help dictate. This year, the theme is people and productivity,” explains Zoe Brennan, events manager at the chamber. “We talk about recruitment and skills all the time and it remains the biggest challenge for most businesses now, whether you are a retailer, a restaurant or a high-tech business.
“Compounded with that, there are real productivity issues with employee sickness at a 10-year high. How we interact with our teams to help productivity is so important.”
Nel Woolcott, managing director of Anne Corder Recruitment – which is sponsoring the People & Productivity Zone – said: “We are thrilled to be involved in CambsB2B. The last few years have seen many changes in our workforces – due to Brexit, Covid and a resulting requirement for more agile working. In the dedicated zone, we will have speakers giving ‘quick briefs’ on some of the key challenges employers face, signposting the tools and techniques to help you find, retain and optimise the people in your business.”
Nel will be talking about the cost of not retaining staff in the zone, while Phil Allen, the Practice Guy, will discuss leader and manager effectiveness to drive productivity.
Look out also for Kath Austin, from Form the Future, for a talk on engaging with the next generation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) specialist and executive coach Katie Allen will deliver a session titled ‘Three things about DEI conversations you need to know’.
Throughout the day, North Cambridgeshire Training Centre and the Local Skills Improvement Plan will run clinics offering insight and advice.
And the presence of charities and community groups – including Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices – will add another dimension to the day.
“We want to make the event as accessible as possible,” continued Faye. “The charities are so important. The whole conversation around the wealth gap and inequality across Cambridge is really key and we need to reiterate it as part of our ESG or CSR goals. Everyone should be looking at these things.”
And for those who want to make swift links, the speed networking from previous B2B events returns.
“A lot of people like the speed networking,” says Faye. “Some people are terrified of it, but it’s a real buzz!”
The event promises to be a good opportunity, post-Covid, to bring the business community together.
“There are always lots of things going on in Cambridge and South Cambs. We need to listen to each other’s needs as business owners, and come together as a collective voice so we can get really good representation across the issues that matter,” concludes Faye.
“The Chamber of Commerce are poised to be the voice of these businesses going forward. We want to use this event to say: ‘Talk to us about your issues and let’s collectively give a response’.”
CambsB2B takes place from 10am-3pm on Wednesday, November 22, at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Register at cambsb2b.co.uk and follow #CambsB2B on social media.
HR and recruitment professionals, accountants, lawyers, marketing and design experts, coachers and trainers, printers and more will be represented at Cambs B2B, all helping us to source locally. And thanks to support from TR Global Events and LanPro, there is representation from the third sector and public sector too. Exhibitors confirmed so far include:
Alan Boswell Group
Anglia Ruskin University
Anglia Translations Ltd
Anne Corder Recruitment Ltd
Arthur Rank Hospice Charity
Ascendant World Payments
Blue Line Operations Ltd
Borney UK Ltd
Cambridge Children's Hospital
Cambridge City Council
Cambridge Corporate Gifts
Cambridge United Foundation
Cambridgeshire Football Association
Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind
Chartered Institute of Building
CPCA Growth Hub
Cambridge Regional College
CTM IT Support
East Anglia Childrens Hospices
East West Rail Co
Eastern Colleges Group (West Suffolk College)
First Copy Corporation Ltd
Form the Future
Full Mix Marketing
George Hay Chartered Accountants
Greenway Rethink Ltd
Grovemere Property Limited
Hilton Cambridge City Centre
Human Capital Department Ltd
KingsGate Conference Centre & Cambridge Dining Company
Layrd Design Ltd
Level Up Print
Magpas Air Ambulance
Mantle Space Ltd
Monthind Clean Limited
Novotel Cambridge North
PAB languages Centre Ltd
Pilot Fish Finance
Resourceful People Group Ltd
Saffron Apparel LTD
South Cambridgeshire District Council
Sizewell C Supply Chain
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce
The Alternative Board
The Jockey Club Venues
The ONE Group
TR Global Events
Vibrant Colour Promotional Merchandise
Welch's Specialist Movements
Welch's Transport Ltd
Wyboston Lakes Limited