Networking event inspires entrepreneurs

One of Wales’s largest networking events connects entrepreneurs with business tycoons, including The Apprentice’s Sir Alan Sugar and millionaire Grant Cardone

Business owners get tips from some of the best at this year’s Expo.

The Introbiz Expo event hosted local businesses, industry experts and keen entrepreneurs at the Motorpoint Arena last Thursday.

Introbiz is a networking and events business founded by Tracey Smolinski, and the event was run by Tracey’s husband, Paul.

The husband and wife team brought the annual event back to Cardiff for the seventh consecutive year with Sir Alan Sugar and Grant Cardone as headline speakers.

Introbiz meet-ups include power lunches and sporting events to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to forge connections and learn from one another.

Speakers at this year’s event focused on the importance of networking and exchanging ideas, especially for people just starting out in business.

Exhibitors exchange knowledge throughout the day.

Tracey said: “We are all about networking, engaging connecting people together to the right businesses so that you can all grow.”

A 2017 report by the Welsh Government exploring Youth Entrepreneurship Aspiration found that 55% of Welsh entrepreneurs are aged 16 to 24.

When asked about their motivation to start their own business, 93% of respondents said the venture provided them with a real sense of purpose.

Introbiz supports these young entrepreneurs by organising a variety of events and mentoring opportunities.

Young business owners took centre stage at the event, keynote speakers included The Apprentice winners Alana Spencer and Mark Wright.  

The 2016 winner, Alana, spoke about her journey creating her national brand, Ridiculously Rich. She told the audience that the key to success was hiring people who are passionate about the business, the product and driving sales.

Alana said that great people are the key to a successful business.

In his talk, Mark said social media is the best way businesses can make sales at a low cost. According to the 2014 winner of The Apprentice, 50% of business will be generated by social media next year.

The talks and stall holders at the event focused on the rapid growth social media as a business tool and its importance for people starting a new business.

“There’s a great range of exhibitors here,” said Mark Selby, the business development manager for Introbiz. “They’re all very welcoming to young entrepreneurs who want to learn how to set up their own business.”

Mark believes the Introbiz Expo connects entrepreneurs with positive role models. “They can see the returns for people who have created wealth,” he said. “We’ve got Matt Soltys from Thrive Assets, he’s only 26 years old. Lord Sugar is known for The Apprentice, which appeals to the younger generation as well.”

The event also gave fledgling businesses a chance to shine in an annual pitch competition. The challenge gives up and coming entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their idea to the public.

The judging panel this year included Ken Poole, head of economic development at Cardiff Council.

Finalists’ proposals were varied, ranging from Anination, an anime, manga and gaming store, to The Flitlits, an original brand of multi platform educational learning products.

Marcus Gough Jones, founder of The Disabled Reviewers, claimed the prize. His business proposal stemmed from personal experience struggling to find a mobility car suitable for his needs.

He decided that the disabled community needed the opportunity to share their experiences, to find the best products and services for them.

Active on YouTube and Facebook, The Disabled Reviewers provide independent reviews of cars, hotels, airlines and disability products. They will launch their own magazine, The Disabled Review, in January 2019.