Connecting The Business Community Amid The Shutdowns

By Rob Kaiser, posted Sep 18, 2020
This year’s WilmingtonBiz Conference & Expo is bringing back memories.
Under vastly different circum­stances, Greater Wilmington Busi­ness Journal launched our region’s annual business expo in January 2011 soon after the Wilmington Convention Center opened.
Our goal was simple – help our often disconnected business commu­nity make one-on-one connections, learn about local companies and hear from interesting speakers about current events.
Pulling together this two-day expo in a new facility with three keynote events, 24 seminars and more than 100 exhibitors was exciting and ex­hausting.
Fast-forward to 2020, when we have nine expos under our belts. Six days before this year’s planned March 18 event, we had to postpone because of Covid-19. We pushed the date far back to September 30, hop­ing we’d all be able to gather by then.
As we realized this summer that Plan B wouldn’t work, memories of planning the 2011 event began com­ing back.
We started doing the same thing we did nearly a decade ago – creating an event that allows our business community to gather and make new connections.
The first priority was picking a platform that allows attendees to meet valuable contacts and talk with them one-on-one.
After weeks of searching and demos, we selected a platform called Brella that includes technology to match you with potential customers, vendors and other valuable connec­tions. It also allows you to schedule and conduct one-on-one video meet­ings on the platform.
We then started rethinking the WilmingtonBiz Expo itself. Unbound by those pesky details of time and space, we thought big.
Instead of trying to squeeze every­thing into one day, we expanded the event to two days to give people more time to learn about exhibitors and schedule one-on-one meetings.
And we significantly expanded the programming into four areas:
  • Keynotes with nCino CEO Pierre Naudé as well as U.S. Sen. Thom Til­lis and challenger Cal Cunningham.
  • Conversations with the CEOs of Novant Health and NHRMC, East West Partners Chairman Roger Perry and more.
  • Seminars on a variety of topics including data analytics, expanding your business, investing, solar energy, commercial real estate and leader­ship.
  • Roundtables with timely dis­cussions on the film industry, angel investing, plans for the school year and more.

We hope you’ll join us. You can learn more on these pages and regis­ter now at

Let me know if you have any ideas, questions or just want to share mem­ories of when this event felt new the first time.
Rob Kaiser is the publisher of Greater Wilmington Business Journal. He can be reached at (910) 343-8600 x204 or [email protected]
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