A Wiltshire Business Expo event which launched last year in Trowbridge gave the opportunity for up to 330 Wiltshire businesses to network in Chippenham.
The free event, part of Wiltshire Council’s Legacy for Wiltshire programme, was held in a marquee in Monkton Park, where 130 exhibitors were seen by some 200 who registered to go along.
The event, sponsored by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Newsquest, publishers of the Wiltshire Times, has grown since it launched last year with 80 exhibitors at the Civic Hall.
There were a number of inspirational speakers on the topic of improving business through exploiting digital technology.
Paul Goodenough, spoke about how he built successful digital agency Aerian Studios after leaving Kingdown School in Warminster at 16, and how websites are becoming more “human”.
He said: “In the 1990s the impetus was on the website user to find stuff, but now there is becoming more of a two-way conversation. All the biggest companies, like Facebook and Amazon, are putting their audience right at the heart of what they do.”
Aaron Whiffin from Salisbury web designers Webbed Feet, gave advice on making websites user-friendly.
He said: “You need to be able to tell from a five-second glance what the business does and where they are.
“The homepage should be like the hallway of a house; it directs people to where they want to go, but you don’t have people standing around talking in the hall.”
Showing how quickly things have changed, he said when he did a computing degree in 2001, the internet was not mentioned once.
A display of sheep attracting a lot of attention was by Bromham company Raising the Baa, whose sheep help businesses with team building.
Director Caroline Palmer said: “It started off with Swindon charity Inner Flame; herding sheep was something to get inner city kids who didn’t know each other to bond, then we got interest from businesses.
“Events like this are important for networking. It’s about concentric circles; you never know who people come here will talk to.
“It’s good the council are helping businesses, especially SMEs (small and medium enterprises) which I think are the backbone of the country.”
Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council and chair of the Legacy steering board, said: “It’s important for Wiltshire to have successful businesses with more jobs and better value jobs, and in order to do that the council needs to support businesses in the county to survive and thrive.”
New for this year was a Wealth of Wiltshire fayre showcasing local produce and crafts.