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Small business events to add to your 2020 calendar (virtual and in-person)

When you’re a small business looking to grow fast, you need to do two things. Firstly, you need to get out there and meet people and persuade them of the benefits of doing business with you. Secondly, you need to discover new ways of developing your business. Both can be done in person and virtually. As we’re in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, many, but not all, small business events are currently running online.

Here we look at some of the best online and offline small business events, conferences, and exhibitions that you may want to visit and/or exhibit or present at in the months ahead.

September business events

Post Brexit Documentation and Compliance - Virtual Classroom

17 September 2020: Tickets cost £299 + VAT for members of the Institute, £399 + VAT for non-members

Useful to anyone with an export business, this one-day virtual course focuses on the potential changes in export documentation that Brexit may bring. Run by the Institute of Export and International Trade, the course will cover key import and export documentation, UK customs procedures, UK tariffs, Rules of Origin, World Trade Organisation Methods of Valuation and the benefits of being an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO).

Big Data London, Olympia, London

23-24 September 2020: Tickets are free

If you deal with any type of data, you could find a trip to the Big Data conference and exhibition invaluable. Topics on the event’s agenda include: multi-cloud and data management; creating a coherent Internet of Things (IoT) strategy; and how big data insights can be used to improve customer experience and interaction. Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales; Google’s chief decision scientist, Cassie Kozyrkov; and Lloyd's chief data officer, Helen Crooks, are among the keynote speakers.

Enterprise Nation Amazon Bootcamp

21-25 September 2020: Tickets are free

If you’re looking to get to grips with the Amazon selling platform and you operate in the home, leisure, gadgets and gifts space, this course is one to commit to. Open to 100 participants, this free five-day online bootcamp, run in conjunction with business support organisation Enterprise Nation and Amazon,  focuses on how to get your home, leisure, gadget and gift business online, use Amazon as a selling platform, build a website and become a social media guru.

October business events

The National Franchise Exhibition, NEC, Birmingham

2-3 October 2020: Tickets are free

If you’re thinking of franchising your business, or if you’re interested in buying a franchise, a visit to the National Franchise Exhibition should be on your to-do-list. Here, you’ll get a chance to speak to representatives from leading franchise brands covering a diverse range of sectors and investment levels, and to seek free professional advice on what it takes to embark on a franchise journey. There is also a packed schedule of seminars and workshops.

The Festival of Marketing, online

5-9 October 2020: Tickets cost from £199 +VAT

If you need inspiration when it comes to marketing your business, this is the event for you. Each day of this week-long online event is dedicated to a different marketing theme: Day 1 is all about Understanding Trends; Day 2 looks at Delivering for Customers; Day 3 is about Achieving Creative Effectiveness; Day 4 focuses on Leading Change and Setting Strategy; and Day 5 concentrates on Driving Recovery and Returning to Growth.

Each day is filled with online master classes, roundtables and workshops, mentor sessions and the chance to listen to headline speakers from major international brands, including Tesco’s CCO Alessandra Bellini; Deliveroo’s CMO, Ines Ures; and eve sleep’s CEO Cheryl Calverly.

Enterprise Nation The Sustainable Fashion Exchange 2020, General Assembly, London

16 October 2020: Tickets cost £65

Aimed at those looking to start or grow a sustainable fashion business, this is an opportunity to display your samples, meet with and pitch to large brand buyers, get advice from successful fashion business entrepreneurs and hear from experts in sales, marketing and PR working in the sustainable fashion industry.

November business events

The South West Business Expo, Westpoint Arena, Exeter

4 November 2020: Tickets are free

Bringing together businesses from across the south west of England, this is an opportunity for networking with other business owners in the region and the chance to benefit from free business advice. Keynote speakers include former BBC TV Dragons’ Den ‘Dragon’, Rachel Elnaugh, the founder of experience brand Red Letter Days; and, PR guru, Lucy Matthews.

The Business Show 2020, ExCel, London

18-19 November 2020: Tickets are free

Two hundred speakers, 500 exhibitors and 200 masterclasses are already lined up for this event aimed at business of all sizes and working across all sectors. Keynote speakers include: Ladbible founder Alex Partridge, who will explain how he grew his social media from zero to 40 million followers; managing director of business selling company Intelligent, Mark Fitzgerald-Cooke, who will discuss how to successfully sell your business; and, business mentor Sukhi Wahiwala of The Business BoardRoom who will be explaining how to get the most from the time you spend on your business.  

The Business Start-Up Show 2020, ExCel, London

18-19 November 2020: Tickets are free

Running as part of The Business Show, mentioned above, the Business Start-Up show is a free exhibition for anyone thinking about or just getting a business off the ground. Exhibitors feature all aspects of business development from PR to VAT and masterclasses cover everything from intellectual property to boosting your digital knowledge.

December business events

Product Marketing Summit, etc. venues, London

2-3 December 2020: Tickets cost from £795 +VAT

If you have a product to market and sell you could find this summit incredibly useful. Using data to drive product decision making; driving the application and usage of your product; and learning how to better engage, convert and retain your customers will be among the talking points. And, Tessa Pettman, Transferwise’s head of product marketing; Nalina Athyantha, Salesforce’s director of product marketing; and Adam Weigand, Uber’s senior product marketing manager are among the speakers.

Women’s Business Conference, running across four different regions

7-16 December: Tickets cost from £122.64

Held on 7 December in Manchester; 9 December in Cambridge; 14 December in Cheltenham; and 16 December in Guildford, the Women’s Business Conference is an opportunity for female business leaders to maximise their brands and connect with hundreds of key decision makers and potential new clients and suppliers. Speakers include Green & Black’s founder Jo Fairley and Women’s Business Club founder Angela De Souza. There is also the opportunity to pitch your business idea or new product or service to the dragonesses in the Dragoness’ Den.

Regular small business networking events running throughout the year

FSB Regional Events

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) holds regular free small business networking events throughout the year. These tend to be aimed at different regions across the UK. Forthcoming events include:

  • 24th September 2020, North East Women in Business Virtual Networking, online. Run by the FSB’s Newcastle, Yorkshire, The Humber and North East England division, attendees will each be given a sixty second pitch slot to pitch their business. There will also be a guest speaker and plenty of opportunity to network.
  • 2 December 2020, Effective Communication, online. Run by the FSB’s Greater London branch, this virtual event is an opportunity for local companies to network and hear from communications’ expert Tara Furlong about how to communicate effectively on an individual and business basis.

The full FSB events calendar can be accessed here.

Enterprise Nation events

Enterprise Nation runs small business networking events and seminars focusing on different industries and business topics year around.

View the full Enterprise Nation events timetable here.

British Chambers of Commerce events

The regional partners of the British Chambers of Commerce all run regular online and offline small business networking events and business development seminars.

Discover the events that are running at your local chamber of commerce here.

Our business resources and events

At Harper James Solicitors, we aim to help start-ups and small businesses progress with accessible legal support and free resources so you have access to the information you need. That’s why we also run regular webinars on subjects ranging from limiting the liability of your business to structuring share incentives. Keep an eye on our regularly updated knowledge hub for new webinars, articles and whitepapers that will help your business progress.

What next?

Whatever stage you’re at in your business’ growth, our team of solicitors can offer you the support necessary to succeed. Call us on – 0800 689 1700, email us at, or fill out the short form below with your enquiry.

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