Yesterday was the 10th Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday #sbs event at the ICC in Birmingham and it didn't disappoint.
It was my ninth event as I couldn't make it last year!
I am sure that a lot of the #sbs winners who attended will also be writing their own posts about the event all looking at it in different ways.
This is my take on it.
This year my plus one was my daughter, it was lovely to finally share the #sbs experience with a member of my family as it has been such a big part of jewellery business life since 2012.
She stayed behind the camera for the day so she won't appear in any of these photos, it will be interesting to see if she managed to avoid the other camera lenses once the official photos are released.
We arrived at the ICC about half an hour after registration opened and dropped our coats off at the free cloakroom before going up the stairs to the Registration tables.
Walked passed a few familiar faces on our walk to the tables but they didn't make eye contact and seemed to be on their own missions, so never got to say hello to them.
Having collected our lanyards we entered the main hall which was already filing up, first things first grab a cup of tea!
When we arrived we had just under an hour to network before the stage sessions were due to start.
An hour to meet people, make new contacts and network!
An hour to familiarise yourself with what else is on offer in the hall
An hour to get your professional headshot if you want one, an hour to try out some crazy golf,
or any of the other winner showcases around the hall.
An hour to attend a break out session or have a one to one with an sbs sponsor or two
Or as it appeared just sit in your seat and wait for the proceedings to start!
I didn't need a head shot photo this year, so once my mug was filled and safely in my hands it was time to mingle, chatting to a few new winners while looking out for more familiar faces! it is always nice to meet new winners but over the years there are winners who I tweet with regularly and have become friends with, so I definitely wanted to find them and although on paper there is plenty of time too network in reality those minutes fly by!
As predicted that hour flew by and before long we were sitting down in our seats waiting for Kypros Kyprianou to officially open the sbs event for this year.
Then Theo Paphitis took to the stage
He talked for a while about #sbs the spring fair and
introducing one of the new opportunities for sbs winners.
Pausing at 11am for a minutes silence for Ukraine - marking the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Following on from Theo Paphitis we had a session by Kirstie Kavanagh talking about Google Digital Garage.
Followed by a short comfort break and then back to main stage for a Panel discussion led by Nat West and chaired by Theo Paphitis on different funding routes with Q & A's.
Which was then immediately followed Owen O'Kane Healthy Mind, Healthy Business, for me this was the session that resonated the most!
A long lunch break followed
Time for more catching up, networking and photo ops
with the fabulous sounds of the Cappricio Quartet floating over us for the duration - I was tempted to ask if they could play Kashmir but got distracted on route!. Wish I had got a photo - might sneak in an official one here when released!.
After lunch it was back to the seats for an interesting fireside chat on main stage with Theo chatting to F1 superstar, and now successful businessman Mark Blundell, with MBPartners.
The main stage finale was a special announcement
Introducing SBS Invest which is a fabulous opportunity for any sbs winner looking for an investor
Immediately after the announcement the new winners rushed to form a queue for their photo with Theo and their sbs certificate.
Just time to have a quick catch up with Beverley of Ava Chip Books before we both rushed off to next destinations
I chose to attend a fully packed presentation by Rhea Freeman on "How to build your brand through social media for free"
On our way out we passed by Kypros who was deep in conversation with other winners so missed out on my hi, bye for this year! Hey ho!
Remembered to collect our Goody bags on our way out and our coats
My earrings for the day!
wish I had taken more photos
still missed people I would have loved to have chatted with
So pleased to have found many others -
Miki, Susan, Umesh, Sharon why didn't we get a photo!
Next year !
Finally - The SBS Crew , Theo Paphitis, Kypros Kyprianou, Rymans et al
thank you so much hosting another fabulous SBS Event This year You are all amazing
and thank you for the potential of fifty more pairs of earrings!