HUNDREDS of businesses and organisations from around the region, including Sunderland’s Nice Network, University of Sunderland and Seaham-based Moralbox, are pursuing leads made during October’s EMCON.

The event, formerly Durham Oktoberfest, is now in its 11th year and here, Operations Director at County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network, Ben Gilhespy, reflects on the success of the event and looks at why it remains such a draw for regional companies.

“Since it was launched back in 2008, EMCON has grown significantly and is now regarded as the best event of its type for companies within the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Its draw lies in its ability to help companies not only forge links with potential customers, but also the role it plays in helping businesses to actively grow.

Unlike some events which are very much networking based, and of course networking is an incredibly important element of business development, EMCON really does give companies of all sizes the opportunity to showcase their products and services to people with real buying power.

Every year we’re hearing more and more positive stories of companies which have secured contracts after exhibiting or attending our event. And already from this year, bearing in mind the event was only held a matter of weeks ago, we have received feedback that contracts have already been agreed.

That is the absolute heart and soul of our event and why its popularity isn’t just exclusive to the regional business community – companies from across the UK and beyond want to be part of it as they know it can be an extension of their sales team or the perfect opportunity to strengthen their supply chain.

Stadler Rail UK is the perfect example of a company that is using EMCON to expand its portfolio of suppliers. The Swiss rail manufacturer was this year’s headline sponsor, seeing our event as the ideal way to raise its profile and meet companies which could potentially become part of their supply chain – something that they believe is vital if they’re to realise their ambitious plans for North East growth.

We were also lucky enough to have the continued support of organisations and businesses including Business Durham, University of Sunderland, Jackson Hogg, DIT, RM Manufacturing, Elis, Masfix and Digital Drive County Durham, to name just a few, who really do make it possible for us to deliver such a fantastic event.

So, as the dust settles on EMCON 2018 and we await more news of contract wins, our attention now turns to 2019 and ensuring ext year continues the impressive trend of ‘bigger and better’.”