Opinion

Editorial

The Region’s Show of Force

A few weeks back, we referenced how long and difficult this year has been for the region and its business community given all the natural disasters and near-disasters, as well as the lingering recession and its many effects.
Despite all that, we said, there is still much to be proud of and to look forward to as we gauge the strength and diversity of the region’s economy and its prospects for the future. And we’ll get a chance to prove it on Oct. 18 at the MassMutual Center, when the curtain rises on the first Western Mass Business Expo.
Technically, this gathering is a trade show, a business-to-business event featuring the exhibits of more than 130 companies, as well as informational seminars and presentations designed to inform and entertain, and a day-capping networking social. But in reality, it is a celebration of the region’s business community, and we hope that you’ll take part in that celebration.
That’s because, while BusinessWest is producing the expo and the MassMutual Center is hosting it, the event really belongs to the business community, and it will be responsible for providing the energy in the room and, ultimately, the momentum that can be taken from it.
But let’s back up a minute. BusinessWest made the decision to produce this event — and also change its name and character — as part of its ongoing and ever-evolving mission to turn a mirror on the region’s business sector and spotlight the people and the individual companies that define it.
For the better part of two decades, this was done via the printed word, in a monthly and then twice-monthly publication. In recent years, we’ve added special events such as the 40 Under Forty and Difference Makers recognition programs, which salute, respectively, the rising stars and individuals who find new and compelling ways to give back to the community and contribute to quality of life in Western Mass. We’ve also become an active partner with the region’s chambers of commerce, working with them in many ways to bring benefits to members and enable area businesses to become more competitive in today’s global, ultra-competitive marketplace.
The Western Mass Business Expo takes our mission a step further and to a different medium, if you will. We’re still shining a mirror, in many respects, but going much further as well, with informational seminars and programs, and the creation of the networking events aimed at helping area businesses make the all-important connections needed to grow and get to the next level.
As we said, this is a BusinessWest production, but it is really an event owned by the business community. And, ultimately, the success of a trade show isn’t measured by how many companies are exhibiting, but by how much those in attendance can take home with them and how much positive energy the event creates.
We’ve spent the spring and summer creating programs that will provide a number of take-aways for all those in attendance. They feature decision makers and they are designed for both design makers and those who carry our their decisions. But that positive energy? Well, that’s up to all those work and do business in this region.
We hope that everyone who is able will be at the MassMutual Center on Oct. 18. It’s an event that promises to be time well-spent — and it just might help people forget what a trying year this has been and focus on how great next year can be.

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