BANGOR, Maine — As a veteran of business expos in his years as a business writer, John Porter has definite ideas about what works and what doesn’t.
It’s all about helping area companies and businesspeople make connections, said the executive director of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, which will sponsor the 2011 Business Expo on Tuesday, May 24, at the Bangor Civic Center.
What “doesn’t work” would be following a narrow theme that would exclude many exhibitors — and participants. So the event won’t do that.
“The real energy of it, the real theme ought to be regular businesses learning about one another and interacting,” Porter said. Already there are more exhibitors signed up than last year, with the expectation that the event will “sell out” its booth space this year.
The day starts with a breakfast reception, with seminars scheduled for 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Seminar participants include owners and managers of L.L. Bean, Black Dinah Chocolates, Mad Gabs body care, Bar Harbor Foods, Whitney Wreaths, B&D Fabrication and Shipyard Brewing Co.
They will cover everything from how to build a brand to navigating the challenges of running a business.
The Geek Squad will offer assistance and advice all day in the Technology Learning Center.
A Networking Lounge will be open throughout the day, and “speed networking” events are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Area restaurants will present a Tasters Showcase 3-5 p.m.
Except for the breakfast reception, activities are free, Porter emphasized.
“If you charge people to go in,” attendance will be less, he said. So there is no charge for the exhibits, the seminars or networking events.
“I said, ‘Let’s not charge anybody,’” and the result last year proved his point, he said.
“We had more foot traffic in the lunch hour,” Porter said. “It’s a very good marketing event and also a decent consumer event. The key to success is the variety is really good.”
That variety includes travel, wellness and personal care, insurance and financial services, banking, economic development, real estate, media, communications, education and employment services, floral, paint, entertainment, retirement and “green” services.
With more than 90 exhibitors and a variety of speakers, Porter is convinced the 2011 Business Expo will have it all.
For information on the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce and its programs, and on the Business Expo, call 947-0307 or visit http://www.bangoregion.com.