John Bignall, founder of Bignall Group, has been part of the EMN community since it began, and during the panel discussion, he described how he has seen EMCON (previously known as Octoberfest) go from strength to strength since its launch in 2008.

“The first one was a great success,” said John. “And it’s grown every year from that.

“There’s a lovely, friendly culture within EMCON and you’re always talking to lots of people.

“I’ve been to a lot of trade shows, but nothing has that sort of culture. I would recommend it to anybody.”

Echoing John Bignall’s comments on EMCON, Richard Bradley said: “It’s a fantastic event and has a feel to it like no other event that I’ve attended.

“I attend several events across the country throughout the year and EMCON is the one I enjoy the most.

“It’s a chance to catch up with people within our community that I probably wouldn’t see. It’s a chance to find out new things. It presents opportunities to us.

Dawn Flynn added: “The community is so friendly and helpful, and it’s really important for SMEs to see that, especially in our region.”

Turnmill Engineering first exhibited at EMCON in 2021 and has reaped the benefits of its investment, with Andrew Howe stating that the firm still has customers from the connections made at its first EMCON show.

“We’ve been back to EMCON several times since then, Andrew explained. “We’ve always felt welcome, right from our first event. We’ve gained customers from it we’ve also increased our supply chain.”

For The Expanded Metal Company team, EMCON in 2022 was also a great success…

“We got an awful lot out of it, not just for business generation, but it’s the cross pollination, the networking and the supply chain side,” said Philip Astley. “I would thoroughly recommend it!”

We’d like to thank Philip, Dawn, Richard, Andrew and John for taking part in our panel discussion and for their fantastic contributions to the Engineers & Manufacturers Assemble event.

This year’s EMCON will include a large-scale exhibition and networking area, a Skills Zone to encourage connections between education providers and the sector, a Made Smarter Zone backed by Made Smarter Adoption North East, a Healthcare Zone supported by Academic Health Science Network North East and Cumbria and a Meet The Buyer area organised by business support group UMi. More announcements will be made in May and June