Chamber Chat - Jon Powell

October 19, 2017 - 9:00am

Chamber Chat - Jon Powell

I’ve had an amazing few weeks. It started with the Chamber’s 120th anniversary and the inaugural North Lancashire EXPO. Followed by a trade mission to Japan and then I started a new role with Lancaster University (see Linked In, I won’t bore you now). All of which got me thinking about what an EXPO means. Briefly its “a fair, display, show, presentation or exhibit” (thank you Google). And I think it’s fair to say there was a great deal of flair and some excellent networking at the two day event. Plus some excellent Thai food. I then had to rush off from Lancaster Brewery to get on a plane to Japan for a trade delegation with Enterprise Educators UK and the British Council. After a three day whistle stop tour around Tokyo and Osaka I arrived back in the UK on the Saturday, so quite a week of networking, looking for new collaborations and trade opportunities. Plus a fair bit of sushi and sake.

The EXPO and the Japan trip had a lot in common; both events were about developing new trade or collaborative opportunities and involved a lot of handshaking and exchanging of business cards. But there is an art to exhibiting and networking and I learnt a long time ago that it’s not about selling “stuff”; it’s about listening and trying to strike up a rapport. And that rapport could lead to a new client or new collaborator down the line, don’t solely focus on the immediate quick wins. So whilst the EXPO provided a showcase for our members in North Lancashire and exposure to the wider community and one another, trade for our members isn’t limited to our district alone. We need to think big and we need to think global.

If you want help to identify overseas trade opportunities, potential trade missions and export support then you are already a member of an excellent trade support organisation in the Chamber of Commerce!

Let’s hope the 2018 North Lancashire EXPO is bigger and better.