JO Withers launched her telemarketing company at the Menta Trade Fair a year ago and found it generated so much business that she was back again this year.
The fair, at Ickworth House on Tuesday, saw the launch of this year’s Bury St Edmunds Business Festival.
And once again it was packed with a variety of businesses from marketing, web design and PR, through to accountants, interior designers, printers and jewellery makers.
Jo was celebrating the first anniversary of her professional cold-calling firm, VTM Versatile Telemarketing. It represents its clients in generating new business.
“From day one at the fair last year I gained some new business straight away and built up lots of contacts and very quickly I had to take on another member of staff.
“Every business should have someone generating new business and sales – so many companies rely on regular customers rather than making new ones.”
She had been telesales manager for Petlife in Bury for 16 years when she decided to go self-employed to give herself and other mums more flexibility with work.
It was the fourth Menta trade fair.
“It gets bigger and better every year,” said Rob Dellow, from sponsor Atkins Thompson.
“I’m always inspired by the enterpreneural spirit of new and growing businesses.
“There are few things as exciting as setting up you own business, taking control of your own destiny – it takes guts and determination to overcome the hurdles on your way.
“It is not the setbacks that create a business but how you overcome them.”
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, formally opened the event, describing it as the ‘Eastern region’s leading business festival.
Among those showcasing their work was Genevieve Pott, of website jewellery company Pott Rocks.
She set up her business 18 months ago, having previously worked for Thurlow Champness jewellers.
“The first time I came to this I just found it so useful. People were so supportive,” she said.
As well as making her own jewellery and importing other items from Switzerland, Genevieve also runs jewellery parties and says business has already started to pick up in the run up to Christmas.
Sean Proctor, of Haverhill -based web design and traffic generating firm Phoenix, said: “We go to a lot of trade shows but if we had to pick just one this would be it. It always gets the biggest footfall, its brilliant.”
Alex Till, chief executive at Menta, said he hoped to increase the number of stands next year after having to turn down people this year. Menta has already started taking bookings for next year’s show.
The festival continued on Wednesday with a Suffolk International Trade Group meeting, focusing on how to increase trade with China.
Chris Cotton, from the China-Britain Business Council, and Steve Toogood, from UK Trade and Investments, were among the speakers.