At its core, the Western Mass. Business Expo is, as the name suggests, a business-to-business showcase, an event that turns a bright spotlight on companies large and small and across sectors of the economy.
But there has always been a strong educational component to the annual fall event, said Kate Campiti, associate publisher of BusinessWest, which has produced the show since 2011. And the 2015 edition of the Expo, set for Nov. 4 at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield, will be no exception.
In fact, she said, it will set a new standard when it comes to programs and events designed to help business owners and managers better understand and navigate the complexities of doing business today.
Indeed, seminar topics will run the gamut from medical marijuana in the workplace to preventing white-collar crime; from creating sales opportunities to brand development; from bullying in the workplace (and how to prevent it) to a new term not yet officially in the dictionary: ‘parentrepreneurship.’
In addition to 16 seminars across four tracks, there will be other opportunities to learn, said Campiti, listing everything from breakfast and luncheon keynote speakers and their messages on both business and life, to a special program on robotics featuring area high-school students, to the so-called, and appropriately named, ‘Business Resource Hub.’
This special corridor of the Expo show floor will be occupied by a host of agencies with varying missions but a common purpose — helping area businesses thrive.
“The Business Resource Hub will be a true resource,” said Campiti. “It has never been tougher to be in business and stay in business, and those trying to run often have questions — about everything from how to secure financing to how to navigate the new sick-leave law — but often don’t know where to look to find answers. The Business Resource Hub will help them make important contacts with a host of state and local business-assistance agencies.”
The specific seminar schedule is still to be finalized, said Campiti, but the tracks have been selected — Sales & Marketing, Workforce Development, Entrepreneurship, and Hottest Trends — as have many of the topics for discussion. A brief look at some of the working titles of the seminars gives a hint of the wealth of information to be disseminated. They include:
• “Parentrepreneurship: Being Both a Parent and an Entrepreneur”;
• “Building a Pipeline of Sales Opportunity”;
• “Why Interns Can Make a Difference for Your Company”;
• “Securing Your Business from White-collar Crime”;
• “How to Work with Humans: Harnessing the Power of Employees”;
• “Increasing the Sanity, Fairness, and Appreciation in Your Family Business”; and
• “Secrets to Hiring and Developing the Right People.”
Meanwhile, other components of the show include a return of last year’s highly successful Retail Corridor, the ever-popular pitch contest staged by Valley Venture Mentors, a Healthcare Corridor, a Technology Corridor, the day-capping Expo Social (one of the best networking events of the year), and much more.
The Expo will again be presented by Comcast Business, which has been the show’s lead sponsor since BusinessWest began producing it in 2011. Director-level sponsors are Health New England, Johnson & Hill Staffing Services, MGM Springfield, and Wild Apple Design. The Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst is education sponsor, and Elms College is the information-center sponsor. Details on the Expo can be found by visiting www.wmbexpo.com.