Festival puts a spotlight on local business success

Fresh festival for young business entrepreneurs at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds.

Fresh festival for young business entrepreneurs at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Peter Leveritt, fashion designer and tailor.

The best of young entrepreneurs and established firms have been showing their skills and expertise over the past week.

The Bury St Edmunds Business Festival comes to a close with the Bury Free Press Business Awards tonight.

The past 10 days has seen a packed line up of events – not least The Fresh Festival in The Apex, on Friday.

Brothers Christian Daniels, 23, and Kieran Daniels run T-shirt design firm Write Here. “This is an excellent opportunity to meet people,” said Christian.

“Some of our T-shirts feature the work of local artist James Hutchinson and we are keen to look for more designers and uncover more artists in Suffolk.”

Ryan Houghton, 23, from music tuition firm Future Sounds Education, said: “It is brilliant – everyone who is creative is coming together to show what they can do.”

Mark Ayre, 23, started building custom made pushbikes while studying at Brunel University. Three years on, Mark is a duty manager at The Apex while his sideline, So Fresh Bikes, operating from his home on Moreton Hall, is taking off.

“The Fresh Festival is fantastic. It is encouraging to see there is so many young talented people in Bury St Edmunds.”

Alex Till, chief executive at enterprise agency Menta, said: “It is crucial for Suffolk that we look at where we can develop opportunties – and opportunities may not always be where we can see them.”

On Tuesday, it was the turn of the Bury Free Press Business Show at The Athenaeum.

The show included seminars on how to get the most out of the increasing number of people who search for services on their mobile phones, how to successfully bid for million of pounds of contracts from the American bases at Lakenheath and Mildenhall, and a speed networking event.

Gary Clark-Ward, from DMUK in Thetford, which specialises in manufacturing light boxes, bespoke frames, LEDs, and solar powered signs, said: “We have exhibited at shows in Birmingham and London but it is always better to do business locally”.

Victoria Sharp and Mel Foreman, from Avanti networking, were at the show to highlight the launch of a women’s networking group in Bury on October 24 from noon-2pm at The Priory Hotel.

“We had lots of good feedback after our stall at the Menta trade fair last week and we are hoping to match that today,” said Ms Foreman.

There were lots of other businesses advertising their services, including MLT Architects, which has recently moved from Whiting Street to the Shire Hall complex and The Bull, at Barton Mills, which underwent a transformation five years ago under Sonia Hickman and has gone on to win best small hotel award last year and came second in the national best freehouse in the Great British Pub awards by the Morning Advertiser.

Bury Free Press events manager Mark Stanford said: “It was a great day. We have had a lot of positive feedback. It was a great way to get lots of different businesses under one roof and talking to each other.

“Now of course, we are looking forward to our inaugural business awards tonight.”

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