Sheffield’s Global Manufacturing Festival is set to break records for attendance and exhibitors this year - but it’s not about attracting as many people as possible, according to one of the organisers.
At the two-day event more than 500 people will attend a manufacturers’ dinner on June 24. And there will be a conference, with more than 1,000 delegates, and all-day exhibition with up to 120 stands - double that of last year - at the AMRC training centre on June 25.
But Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber, said it was not solely about numbers.
“We want and expect business to be done at the GMF – but it isn’t meant to be a massive trade show where the number of exhibitors overwhelm you.
“Last year we became a truly national event with exhibitors and delegates from all over the country.
“This year we already have bookings from China, Colombia, and others.
“It’s amazing how many countries want to buy from us – we should not undersell ourselves.”
Now in its fifth year, the GMF’s aim is to connect hundreds of smaller companies to big firms and support networks with the aim of growing manufacturing capability in the region.
A senior Government minister will give the keynote speech at the dinner, which will be followed by a panel debate including Master Cutler Tony Pedder.
The next day exhibitors will set up stands in giant marquees attached to the training centre, while a conference takes place inside.
Richard added: “Exhibitors are all manufacturers, or businesses so supportive to manufacturing that SME’s have to be aware of them.
“Speakers are chosen from strategic sectors - this year automotive, oil and gas, airframe, HS2 and wind energy - who know their markets.”