Exhibition News May 2019 - Page 41

Feature T here’s never been an event like this in the UK,” Christie Day tells EN. “There are a lot of conferences and awards but not a large- scale expo.” Day is the group event director for the Women Business Expo, a new launch by Hub Exhibitions coming to Farnborough International in October 2019. As the name might suggest, the event aims to give guidance, inspiration and business services to women at any stage of their career or business journey. “We saw that there was all this wasted talent in Hampshire and the south of England,” continues Day. “Women who were maybe mothers and wanted to continue their career but didn’t want to do the rat race and go back into central London. “They needed a work-life balance. There were educated, experienced, talented women who weren’t working to their full potential and not enough things that were available locally, so that was where the idea came from.” The show targets four different groups of women in business: women looking for a career change who want to work for an employer; women looking to start a business or invest in a franchise; women who already have a business who want advice and guidance for growing it and making it more efficient; and mothers returning to work after having children. “We want to identify a problem, then have an action plan and solution at the event” Right place, right time The Women in Business Expo will be launching later this year to provide career opportunities and guidance to women, EN finds out more EN asks if the event is equally open to both men and women. “Everyone asks me this,” she laughs. “The event is open to all. It’s a business event for women, however a lot of employers are coming to the event to be educated on how to diversify their workforce or to be educated on the gender pay gap. If people don’t know the challenges and the issues that women face in the workplace then they won’t know how to change them. “Also, for the franchise investment it’s targeting couples because a lot of women who are in a marriage or partnership wouldn’t tend to make an investment without discussing it with their partner.” The event focuses largely on three key areas: women in tech, women in finance and women in franchise. “Why do only 17 percent of women work in the tech space?” adds Day. “Why is the finance industry, which is one of the most lucrative industries, not an advert for women? “We’ve got brands like Vodafone, who are exhibiting to recruit female talent and also to sell their products and services to business owners and female directors. “We’ve got franchisers who are looking to meet franchisees. And with a lot of the banks and the financial giants they’re looking to sell services like loans and credit cards and also to recruit female talent.” The timing and location of the event both play a key role. The location of Farnborough gives the organisers access to the southwest demographic they want to target as well as the tech businesses that have migrated out of London to places like Reading, Bracknell and Hampshire seeking cheaper office space. The timing coincides with the aftermath of the ‘Me Too’ movement, which drew global attention to gender inequality, and also the fact that large businesses now have to declare their gender pay gap as part of a UN pledge to close it by 2030. But, says Day, the real focus of the event is finding the perfect career match for women who attend, whatever that may be. “We spend more time at work than with our families,” she concludes. “So it has to be something that you love and are passionate about.” EN May — 41