The best events to visit for small businesses in the UK and Ireland 2020

With thousands of business exhibitions commencing each year, how can retailers know which are worth attending and which will waste their time? We have compiled a list of the best business events to visit across the UK and Ireland in 2020 so that you can have the most valuable experience.

AirPOS
AirPOS
8 min read

With thousands of business exhibitions commencing each year across the UK and Ireland, it’s difficult to know whether any are worth taking time away from your business to attend. This is even more true for the paid events, you must be sure that the cost of attendance will be worth the price.

Business showcases can be incredibly valuable spaces with insightful discussions, thought-provoking panel discussions and important networking opportunities. By choosing the right event, you can take a refreshing break from your business which in turn can inspire innovation.

What makes all the difference, however, is the event you choose to attend. This is why we have researched the top events across a variety of industries that we feel offer a truely valuable experience to their attendees whether an exhibitor, business or consumer.

General

The-business-show-2020

The Business Show

When
18th & 19th November 2020

Where
ExCel, London

What
The Business start-up show is one of the fastest growing exhibitions in Europe and last year welcomed over 25,000 businesses. The show is divided into two popular events across the two days, the 'The Great British Business Show' and 'Business Startup' meaning there is something for everyone hoping to improve and expand their business.

Why
The business show is regarded by many within the industry as the country’s leading exhibition with 17 years of experience. Although open to all the event is primarily targeted at SME’s and has a specific focus on start up’s.

If in attendance you will benefit from highly respected speakers, interactive features and industry-leading supplier exhibits. The event is a great opportunity to meet with thousands of innovative professionals and forge connections to help build your business

Price
Free to attend

retail-tech-expo-small

The Retail Tech Expo

When
29th & 30th April 2020

Where
Olympia, London

What
The Retail business technology expo (RBTE) is a leading event for European small to medium-sized businesses. Although it has retail in the title the RBTE can be attended by all businesses, from hospitality to leisure. If in attendance you will be able to take advantage of the many talks and seminars held by industry experts and speak with the large network of suppliers.

You will be in good company at the expo with 76% of the UK’s top retailers frequenting the event every year to contribute to panels and live events on the main stages.

Why
If searching for a learning experience the retail business technology expo is all-inclusive with 2 days jam-packed with events to appeal to all retailers providing inspiration and innovation. The event is a must for any retailer in search of the right tools and advice to grow their business and build contacts with professionals within their industry.

Price
Free to attend

Ecom-live-2

Ecomm Live

When
29th & 30th April 2020

Where
Odessy, Belfast

What
Ecomm live is a Nothern Irish business conference focused on eCommerce however offers two full days worth of talks from industry professionals, pannel discussions and live demonstrations. Ecomm live is the only event of its kind in Northern Ireland and draws in larger numbers every year from across Ireland and the wider UK.

Why
Particularly if on the Island of Ireland, Ecomm live is a must-attend event with quality speakers and events that you will not experience anywhere else in the country. You will be able to meet and speak with like-minded leaders across a variety of industries whilst building skills to help your ecommerce business grow.

Price
£175

Retail

Retail-week-live-purple

Retail week live

When
25th-26th March 2020

Where
Intercontinental London, The O2, London

What
Retail week live is a two-day exhibition showcasing over 200 world-class speakers throughout the retail industry giving attendees the chance to learn more, be inspired and, importantly network with those across the sector. The event has been running for 27 years and has developed into one of the most comprehensive of its kind with both strategic and digital sessions all led by those in varying levels of business

Why
As mentioned if visiting RWL you will have a jam-packed schedule with over 200 speakers discussing everything from the “transformation of the high street, digital transformation to ethical consumerism, the importance of building communities, data and AI, and rethinking loyalty”.

With so much on offer, it can sometimes be hard for you to stay on track with what sessions and talks are most relevant. RWL have considered this however and have separated their event out into separate “tribes” so that you can follow an agenda personalised to your businesses needs. Rather than waste precious time, you can maximise your experience never missing a talk that could benefit your business.

Amongst the educational sessions, there are plenty of opportunities to network amongst others in the industries with speed dating-style events, topic-specific lunches and a late-night networking party.

Price
Retailer: £999
Non Retailer: £2600

Hospitality

Restaurant-expo

Restaurant and Takeaway innovation expo

When
8th and 9th September 2020

Where
ExCel, London

What
The Restaurant and takeaway innovation expo is the ultimate event for those restaurant and takeaway owners looking to boost their profits, build their brand and increase their knowledge within their industry. With 1000 exhibitors, 500 seminars and panel debates from industry professionals you are sure to find all the tools to transform your business and revolutionise the way you operate.

Why
The restaurant and takeaway innovation expo is completely free to attend and has an incredible amount to offer. With a superb line-up of speakers from industry-leading businesses, you are sure to find inspiration at one of the many seminars or thought-provoking panel discussions.

No other event in the region offers such a wide array of exhibitors acting as a one-stop-shop for “food business owners, meeting and connecting with a distinguished lineup of cutting-edge suppliers, showcasing the products, services and systems” that will help to take your hospitality business to the next level

Amongst the informational experiences, attendees can avail of the event’s very own networking area allowing you the chance to mingle with like-minded business owners from across the globe. This is the ideal opportunity to gain greater insight and acquire new business contacts all within a relaxed and hospitable setting.

Price
Free to attend

Pub-21

The Pub Show

When
20th & 21st April 2021

Where
Olympia, London

What
The Pub show is the only exhibition dedicated to the pub industry within the UK. If within the industry you would be unwise to miss the fully immersive event which brings together “over 200 innovative suppliers, 30 insightful talks from 60 expert speakers, and the latest food, drink and technology trends”.

Why
The PUB show, although will not be commencing until April 2021 is an invaluable opportunity meet with suppliers, network with others to share ideas and inspiration, and to learn about the latest trends from this vibrant sector.

The event boasts a wide array of features, discussing everything from drink advice and sustainability to grub and an awards. If searching to expand or grow your business the Pub show will surely inspire creativity and innovation tackling the newest ways to revolutionise this market in a enjoyable setting.

Price
Available upon request

Beauty

Professional-beauty

Professional Beauty

When
London: 29th and 30th March 2020
Dublin: 8th and 9th November 2020
Manchester: 18th and 19th October 2020

Where
London: ExCel, London
Dublin: Citywest, Dublin
Manchester: Eventcity, Manchester

What
The Professional beauty events are one of Europes largest showcases for salon and spa professionals offering a comprehensive two days filled with demonstrations and talks from heavyweights in the industry. Attendees of Professional Beauty will be able to witness the unveiling of new products in their industry and be the first to get their hands on the latest merchandise.

Why
In a highly competitive industry the professional beauty expo is one of the best ways to get ahead in the industry and discover the latest trends set to hit your sector. If in attendance you will have the opportunity to get inspired by the leaders across the beauty industry, get the best deals with supplier and build connections with like-minded business professionals. The event is completely free to attend and has three showcases across the UK and Ireland making it more accessible to business owners across the region

Price
Free to attend

Vape

Vape-Jam-Logo-

Vape Jam

When
3rd, 4th and 5th April 2020

Where
ExCel London

What
The UK’s very first Vape trade show with international exhibitors and visitors.The event is celebrating it's 5th anniversary this year, showcasing a wide variety of tobaco alternative products including a unique CBD section of the event. Across the three days, visitors, both those in trade and as consumers can expect a wide array of exhibitors from across the globe as well as seminars and workshops hosted by industry leaders.

Why
Vape Jam attracts thousands of international visitors every year ready to sample new products from their favourite brands and learn about new sellers. Although widely adopted vaping is still considered by many as a niche industry and Vape Jam provides a space for those within the industy and who have a passion to connect and learn.

If a Vape Brand, Vape Jam also offers different pricing tiers for its exhibitors and importantly a special reduced price point for start-up companies who are hoping to enter the industry.

Price
B2B: Free
B2C: Ranges from £5- £7.50

Vaper-expo-logo

The Vaper Expo UK

When
1st, 2nd and 3rd May 2020

Where
NEC Birmingham

What
The Vaper Expo is one of the largest events of its kind within Europe. This award winning expo is popular around the globe with businesses and consumers traveling from far and wide to attend one of their events.

The event has specific days outlined whether you would be attending as a consumer or as a businesses to ensure that your experience was worthwhile.If in the industry you can avail of the expo’s B2B day which enables you to meet new contacts and negotiate deals with world-leading suppliers.

Why
The Vaper Expo is a great opportunitity to learn about the newest products from across the globe whilst still in an upbeat and casual enviornement. The event has aimed to amalgamate a festival type of vibe yet still being a serious platform for businesses to showcase their new products and meet those within their industry.

The Vaper Expo is one of the largest of its kind welcoming over £20,000 visitors and over 500 different brands. If in the sector this event is not to be missed with previous years hosting live performances from big artists and a large level of free giveaways.

Price
£15- £60

About AirPOS

At AirPOS we are committed to helping our small retailers grow and expand. We have been in the business of supporting businesses with our powerful ePOS solution for over a decade, allowing owners to focus on their passion.

We understand that large business exhibitions can be seen as an unnecessary expense on a limited budget. Although this can be true there are options available for retailers on all budgets and as seen many of these events will not only increase you knowledge but provide the opportunity to build relationships with those in your industry.

For articles like these, customer spotlights and industry updates check out the AirPOS blog!