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Western Mass. Business Expo Will Focus on the Future

Moving Forward

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Workforce development and entrepreneurship.

Many issues, developments, trends, and concerns have come to the forefront — and dominated the headlines in BusinessWest — in recent years, but none more than these two.

Virtually every business sector and individual company in the region is faced with the considerable challenges of closing the skills gap, replacing the retiring Baby Boomers, and coping with multiple generations in the same office or manufacturing floor.

Meanwhile, the region is seeing a surge in entrepreneurial energy that is helping startups get off the runway, climb to a cruising altitude, or pick up needed speed on their way to a desired destination.

Thus, the floor of the Western Mass. Business Expo on Nov. 3 will, among other things, put these intriguing developments into sharp focus.

Of course, there will be plenty of other things to occupy the time and imagination of Expo-goers, from breakfast and lunch programs to educational programming on sales and marketing, tech trends, Big Data, and other topics; more than 100 exhibitors; and the day-capping Expo social, one of the best networking events of the year.

“This will be a day packed with activity from start to finish,” said Kate Campiti, associate publisher at BusinessWest, which is now in its sixth year of producing the Expo. “Business owners and managers need to circle Nov. 3 on their calendars and clear whatever was on for the date so they can spend the day at the MassMutual Center.”

But now, back to the future — as in the future of the region’s workforce and the future of the area’s business community and some of the companies that may shape it. These will be two of the main focal points of the Expo.

It’s called the Workforce of Tomorrow Hub, and that name speaks volumes about what will take shape on this large segment of the Expo show floor.

The Hub will be, well, a hub, with activity all morning and afternoon. It will include everything from robotics demonstrations and training initiatives involving area vocational and technical high schools to booths featuring businesses and agencies focused on workforce development, to a seminar series focused on today’s multi-generational workforce.

Individual seminars will focus on the art and science of recruiting, training, and retaining top talent; motivating the Millennial generation; methods for getting the four generations at work today to function cohesively, and much more.

“Every business is struggling to attract and retain top talent; the skills gap is a formidable challenge,” said Campiti. “The Expo will bring together experts on the subject of workforce development to offer timely and invaluable insight into how to build, maintain, and maximize a company’s best asset — its workforce.”

Meanwhile, in other corners of the show floor, the focus will be on entrepreneurship and various initiatives taking place across the region.

Programming includes a panel discussion on ongoing efforts to build and refine an entrepreneurial ecosystem, a ‘where are they now’ panel featuring several high-profile participants in Valley Venture Mentors’ accelerator program, and a pitch contest, conducted by SPARK Holyoke, featuring several area startups.

“The efforts to stimulate entrepreneurship and mentor startups is one of the most important components of the region’s economic-development strategy,” said Campiti. “The Expo will shine a light on these efforts, while also providing attendees an opportunity to meet and hear about some of the entrepreneurs they’ve read and heard so much about.”

The Western Mass. Business Expo will again be presented by Comcast Business. Other sponsors include Express Employment Professionals, Health New England, the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, Johnson & Hill Staffing Services, MGM Springfield, Wild Apple Design, the Western Mass. Economic Development Council, Savage Arms, the Better Business Bureau, and the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County. The event’s media partners are WMAS, WHMP, and Rock 102/Laser 99.3. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.

Exhibitor spaces are also available; booth prices start at $725. For more information on sponsorships or booth purchase, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100. For more details, go HERE

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