More than 40 companies took stalls and over 300 people heard a series of inspirational talks at the Riviera International Centre at the first ever TBF Business Festival.
The event was opened by Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver who said there was a real buzz about Torbay at the moment, particularly after the busiest summer for many years and the opening of the South Devon Highway.
Mayor Oliver predicted that the Bay’s improving jobs prospects mean the day will come, possibly in 2018, when there are more vacancies than people looking for work.
He said Torbay has had one of its busiest summers in recent years at the same time employers like Centrax at Newton Abbot had been recruiting, having taken on 85 and are still looking on to take a further ten.
There are also major events taking place in Torbay including a second Torbay Air Show, which the Mayor said could by 2020 could inject £20million into the resort, a visit by tall ships, and the World Unesco Geoparks conference later this month.
The council has a £7.5million bid into the Local Enterprise Partnership for a commercial property development at its site at Claylands in Paignton which will help local businesses find the premises to expand. Work is continuing to bring forward the EPIC high tech centre in Paignton costing £8million.
He paid tribute to the work of the Brixham and Torquay Chambers of Commerce. He wished the private sector every success with the new tourism business improvement district being set up.
“We are discussing various ways we can work together so there are benefits for everyone across the board,” he said.
Forum chairman Tim Godfrey said: “Crafted by a really dedicated volunteer TBF sub group, today’s event was one of the best business gatherings I have attended in recent years. The speakers were brilliant and our thanks go out to SSG, Sally Cope and Rob Holmes. Rob was really superb and such a nice man. Special thanks to Mark Salmon for the continued support of Bays Brewery – I certainly enjoyed the beer at the close. Personal thanks to Angela and Mike at IMS for their design, printing and all round promotion and organisation. Finally a big thank you to South Devon College student, Jenny Bindon for all her work to help us get the stall holders marshalled and committed and for spending the day on reception.
Torquay Chamber of Commerce chairman, Susie Colley said she thought the festival ‘fantastic’. “It’s great that that the business forum have got so many businesses wanting to network and do business. As the Mayor said there is a buzz about Torbay now. The business forum, chamber and Torbay Development Agency have a great future working together to make sure businesses in Torbay are well supported and move forward.”
The Torquay Chamber stand was ‘under construction’. Mrs Colley and past chairman Bill Allen explained they wanted to combine the best of the old and the new.
Mr Allen said: “The chamber is over 100 years old but it can’t live on the past glories, it has to be fit for the new century.”
One of the TBF sub team organiser, Alison Benney from enlightenHR said; “It was excellent – a great atmosphere and buzz in the room, so much interest from everyone to support growth of business in the Bay”
David Crispin from Crispin Associates; “ It was one best shows I have exhibited at – so collaborative and friendly, great format, layout and excellent value for money. Same again for next year, please!”
Marianne Clark, from Brite Services was impressed with the turnout ; “It was a great mix of companies and the seminars were really interesting. I really enjoyed all the networking with new businesses”.