SheffEX a sell-out showcase of trade

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“I think we are going to do it again.”

In the final analysis, the measure of an event’s success is whether the organisers feel like repeating the whole time-consuming stressful process.

And although Tony Carroll didn’t actually say ‘yes’, he came pretty close.

SheffEX, Sheffield’s first one-day business exhibition, was a sell-out at Ponds Forge sports centre yesterday.

It featured 120 exhibitors, business speed dating, seminars and even massage. Some 1,500 registered to attend and dozens more walked in off the street.

It was organised by brothers Andrew and Mark McCormick and Tony Caroll, from a ‘standing start’.

No database of previous exhibitors or visitors, no corporate or public sector backing, everything from scratch.

Tony, whose day job is in ‘land and property’, said: “I think we are going to do it again. We’ve put in hundreds of hours since January.

“It’s not been easy, but it’s been okay.

“And the reaction across the board has been absolutely positive.”

The idea came to him two years ago after a visit to a similar show called Rotherham Means Business. Curiously, Doncaster has had a similar event for five years, but never Sheffield.

Tony added: “It was January when we finally got going. We thought: ‘If we don’t do it no-one else will’.

“It’s an opportunity to put people together to do deals and make some profits and recycle cash locally.

“The business landscape is changing and it was a chance to celebrate the great stuff about Sheffield companies.”

Exhibitors included several creative and digital companies, lawyers, merchandising and marketing companies, Sheffield College and most of the big banks and charities.