Wiltshire firms gather to work their net
A Wiltshire Business Expo launched last year in Trowbridge allowed up to 330 Wiltshire businesses to network in Chippenham yesterday.
The free event, part of Wiltshire Council’s Legacy for Wiltshire programme, was held in a marquee in Monkton Park, where 130 exhibitors were seen by about 200 visitors.
The event, sponsored by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Newsquest, has grown since it launched last year with 80 exhibitors at the Civic Hall.
There were a number of inspirational speakers on the topic of improving business through exploiting digital technology.
Paul Goodenough spoke about how he built successful digital agency Aerian Studios after leaving Kingdown School in Warminster at 16, and how websites are becoming more “human”.
He said: “In the 1990s the emphasis was on the website user to find stuff, but now there is becoming more of a two-way conversation. All the biggest companies, like Facebook and Amazon, are putting their audience right at the heart of what they do.”
Aaron Whiffin, from Salisbury web designers Webbed Feet, gave advice on making websites user-friendly.
He said: “You need to be able to tell from a five-second glance what the business does and where they are.
“The homepage should be like the hallway of a house; it directs people to where they want to go, but you don’t have people standing around talking in the hall.”
Showing how quickly things had changed, he said when he did a computing degree in 2001 the internet was not mentioned once.
A display of sheep attracted a lot of attention to Bromham company Raising the Baa, whose sheep help businesses build teams.
Director Caroline Palmer said: “It started off with Swindon charity Inner Flame; herding sheep was something to get inner city kids who didn’t know each other to bond. Then we got interest from businesses.
“Events like this are important for networking. It’s about concentric circles; you never know who people who come here will talk to.”