I am just back from Mobile World Congress for the first overseas, in person, event I have been to since COVID-19. Part of my role at the event was to help promote the UK delegation of companies at the show.

Pavilion power

Trade fairs and exhibitions can be a huge financial commitment for tech start-ups and there are plenty of founders that questions whether it is worth attending at all.  As one of the largest, most complicated, and most expensive events in the tech calendar, Mobile World Congress is a serious commitment.  The exhibition is open from 8.30am to 8pm, gruelling days.  The financial commitment simply to get a stand is significant and additionally there is the cost of flying staff to the event, booth uniforms, hotels, food and drink and a host of other considerations.

One possible avenue to reducing this commitment is by discovering whether the start-up’s Government has a pavilion at the event.  These areas group together companies from one country in one area and this can be helpful in attracting visitors, potential business partners and members of the press to the booth.

At Mobile World Congress, for example, Department for International Trade offers space to promising new start-ups on the UK pavilion.  There is still a cost, but it can sometimes be subsidised, and it comes with benefits including refreshments, meeting rooms and reduced cost tickets.

Making the most of exhibitions

This year, Tradefair, the company that runs these programmes for the UK Government will have a presence at broadcast, telecommunications, AI, smart cities, and consumer technology events around the world.  It is an effective way to have a presence at relevant events without having the significant financial commitment that typically comes with such events.  And it is potentially a goldmine for the companies attending.  In the days I was at Mobile World Congress, British companies at the event met potential new business partners, investors, customers, and the media.  All of this would not have been possible outside the event.

Global opportunities

It is not just the UK that runs these kinds of programmes.  Germany does so on a regional basis, as does Spain.  France always has a significant presence at trade events too.  Each country will operate in a slightly different way so it is worth considering whether your business might be eligible for support in the country where you are headquartered or even where you do business.

Perhaps the best benefit is that so much of the hassle associated with attending events is dealt with by the organisers rather than the responsibility of the company directly.  The Tradefair staff at Mobile World Congress managed exhibition badges, supported the companies with logistics, provided advice, and even managed the build up and break down of the UK companies’ presence at the event.  This is a serious bonus for small companies where there is enough to do without these additional pressures.

If you are interested in finding out more, contact Tradefair at info@tradefair.co.uk.