Crowd pleasers

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Magazines were the main focus for the Prysm Group when the organiser started out in 2001, with Business Startup the only exhibition run by the business. Thirteen years on with a portfolio of more than 12 major shows, the organiser has never been more ambitious.  The Prysm Group don’t appear to do things by halves as the firm holds not two or three co-located shows, but five all under one roof. Business Startup was launched in 2001 at The NEC and has run twice a year ever since at Excel London in May and Olympia London in November. “The exhibition has been the place to go for anybody launching a business and the place has a buzz from the minute the doors open. The show is designed to inspire and excite people about taking the step into becoming their own boss and as a result the atmosphere is electric and visitors, speakers and exhibitors whip each other up,” managing director of Prysm Group, Tom Penn told EN. Acting as a hub for the other shows in Prysm’s portfolio (including Accountex, Legalex and Takeaway Innovation Expo) sister event the Business Show (pictured) claimed to be the UK’s largest business event attracting more than 20,000 firms and 25,000 visitors. “The Business Show which ran in May had 17 seminar theatres (hosting 368 seminars between them), and 13 workshops which ran 174 sessions between them, on top of that were another seven features,” said Penn. The maverick firm believes there no one way to define success. Discipline is key to keeping up the momentum from the last 12 months, said Penn. Every morning starts with a short but invigorating meeting, with the entire office involved - the hunger to achieve is right across the company. “Shows are like your own children,” said Penn. “You love them equally but are proud of them for different reasons. The Business Show packs the aisles and the visitor interaction with one another creates an incredible energy. COPA Practice Growth opened up a real niche but has since flourished with a series of sister shows. “Accountex is brilliant because its revenue has grown at a phenomenal rate, everything about the event from the theatres to the content drips with good quality and the audience is pure. “Takeaway Innovation Expo is exciting because it was the most buzzing launch we’ve ever done and is set for an exciting future. “Farm Business Innovation was a wild idea which turned into a 97 per cent rebooking launch show, and is set to triple its revenue by the second edition - oh and it attracted 3,000 tweed and welly-clad famers to Kensington,” Penn added. Humour aside, Penn assures EN that footballing analogies are used for every single business decision, predicament or circumstance, for example: ‘What would Sir Alex [Ferguson] do in this circumstance?’ As well as grow its event portfolio, the Prysm team continues to expand with an office in London, and a recently extended head office in Bristol to larger premises to accommodate growth. Ensuring that the event directors are “head and shoulders the best paid in the industry” is part of the list planned for the next 12 months. And it seems Prysm doesn’t stop there. Penn reveals that both COPA Practice Growth and Accountex are launching in the USA next year and there are also some exciting plans already in place for Flood Defence Expo. The organiser also hopes to launch a minimum of two new shows every six months, and establish a New York office with a minimum of two successful US launches. “There are many things which we look up to other organisers to on how they successfully execute shows and there is something we can learn from every single event in the country,” added Penn. “The way we differ in some cases is that we pack our events with educational content so that every visitor no matter what their agenda will have a choice of lots of free seminars run by respected experts in their field.” This was first published in the June issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne
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