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Brantford Business Trade Show offers a chance to connect

BusinessBrantford Business Trade Show offers a chance to connect

The newest Brantford Business Trade Show will take place at the Marriott Brantford on Wednesday, January 24, 2023.

The trade show will provide an opportunity for local businesses in Brantford, the County of Brant and surrounding areas to connect with fellow entrepreneurs.

Sam Gernhart, event organizer and owner of Clarity Marketing and Design, said that she created the event after seeing an opportunity to add more to the city’s business world.

“Through conversations with other business owners and entrepreneurs, I kept hearing ‘how else can I market my business in the community? How else can I get my name out there?’” she said. “In turn, I’ve been asked about trade shows and networking, but specifically trade shows. I really saw that there was an opportunity to add a business trade show early on in the year to kind of help kickstart everyone’s marketing.”

She said the appeal of a business trade show is the chance to interact with others.

“You’re networking and you’re mingling with not only the attendees that come through the door who are potential customers or clients of yours, but the other trade show businesses that are there who are also your potential customers and clients,” she said. “You really have a whole bunch of different people at your fingertips when you attend an event like this. For me, a trade show is a big networking event where you get to display your products or your services and you can put a screen up with a slideshow or a video, but it’s also about putting your face to the business, saying hello and getting the name out there.”

Gernhart said that in the world of social media, where you don’t get to interact face to face, a traditional trade show event is the perfect place to meet people on a more personal level.

“These days, people follow each other on social media and don’t always get to meet you in person, so tradeshows and networking events are a great way for people to say “oh you’re this person! I’ve been following you and I love your stuff!’” she said. “An event like this just adds that personal touch because we’re all on social media, and it can be really hard to make your mark and to have a person stop, scroll and to connect with your account these days so this is just a different avenue.”

Looking to the future, she said that she hopes the inaugural event will not only become the city’s biggest business trade show, but an asset.

“There are so many businesses opening up in Brantford and the surrounding areas everyday so I’m really hoping to make it a resource for the community,” she said. “It’s not only for businesses to utilize it and to market themselves, but also for the attendees to come and learn about different businesses, network, connect, and to just check out what our communities have to offer.”

On the day, the event will take place inside the Marriott’s Affinity Conference Centre from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and the networking portion will take place afterwards from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m..

“Both portions are free so people can come and check out the trade show, mingle, and grab some free stuff,” she said. “And then they can also attend the networking portion after. There’s no pressure to do both, they can also attend one or the other, but it’s completely free for people to attend.”

Gernhart notes that because it’s a newer event, there isn’t a set cut-off date for applications this year.

“I would love to have a good 50 or so vendors to showcase the first year, so I’ll likely be accepting applications as close to the date as I need to,” she said.

Gernhart has been running her business since she was 18 years old. As a mother, a business owner and a professor at Conestoga College, over the past year, Gernhart has become well-versed in hosting networking events.  

Last year, she launched the city’s first Women in Business Expo which took place on International Women’s Day and over 200 residents attended the free event. To build on the momentum, she also hosted a Network and Mingle event later in the year with over 80 people in attendance.

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