On 17 and 18 May, 2013, businesses from across the region, converged on Riverway Arts Centre for the 2nd North Queensland Business and Franchise Expo.

Boosted by increased local support and interest from outside the region, the Expo attracted over 100 sponsors and exhibitors keen to promote their business offerings, network with others and share their industry skills and knowledge.

Townsville Chamber hosted the breakfast launch at Tony Ireland Stadium with keynote speaker, John Camilleri, CEO of the renowned Baiada Group, generously sharing his expertise and inspirational family business story with the audience.

The Expo was officially opened by Mayor Jenny Hill and presentations from James Cook University lecturers proved popular with attendees keen to sample the diverse range of free workshops on offer. Presenters covered topics including marketing, governance, pitching for investment

This year saw the addition of an area dedicated to franchising and new business opportunities which was extremely well received. This gained significant interest as a result of a lucrative sponsorship package negotiated with Franchise Buyer magazine. The Expo was featured as their cover story for their February edition, which linked to an editorial piece highlighting the benefits of regional franchising. The exposure lifted the profile of the event significantly.

At least 7 franchises currently not represented in the region attended the Expo and a number are finalising contracts to commence business here. Already a number of other franchise organisations have expressed interest in participating in our next Expo.

A free networking event on the Friday afternoon was popular with the exhibitors and local industry representatives. Collaborating with Townsville Enterprise CEO, David Kippin, and Townsville Chamber CEO, Marie-Claude Brown, TBDC CEO Sharyn Brown presented a panel discussion and information session aimed at clarifying and defining the important roles each organisation plays in the ongoing development and economic growth of the Townsville region, both in partnership with each other and through their own unique service delivery.

Townsville Business Development Centre gratefully acknowledges everyone who attended and exhibited at the Expo and whose support helped make it a great success. Specifically, we acknowledge the 2013 sponsors for their particular efforts to promote, market, and support what is becoming the key business development and networking event on the NQ calendar.

The Chamber was proud to team up once again with the NQ Small Business Development Centre for their second business expo. The expo is on its way to becoming an iconic event, bringing the Townsville business community under one roof over 2 days. Crowd numbers were good, but more importantly, visitors came to do business

Dawson Wilkie, President of Townsville Chamber of Commerce – Business Success Magazine Issue 10, August, September, October 2013.