Jackson — The Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO, featuring the tradeshow, multiple awards programs, free seminars, an after-hours program, door prizes, food and entertainment and more, returns in January for the 23rd time. Mississippi’s largest business-to-business networking event, this year’s EXPO, a special project of the Mississippi Business Journal and presented by Time-Warner Business Class, will be held January 18-19, 2006, at the Mississippi Trademart in Jackson.
“Over the course of more than two decades, the Mississippi Business Journal has worked diligently to grow the number of exhibitors, attendees and offerings at the show,” sad Robbie L. Bell, MBJ vice president of business development. “Last year’s show was the largest in terms of attendance and participation in its 22-year history. The feedback from exhibitors was fantastic, particularly concerning the quality of the attendees.”
This year’s show will feature nearly 200 exhibitors, and is expected to draw thousands of attendees. While now a familiar event to the Mississippi business community, participants at the 2006 Mississippi Business & Technology will discover a number of new offerings.
Bell said, “We are going to provide a number of firsts at this year’s event, and we are really excited about the 2006 version of the EXPO.”
One of those firsts will be — well — first. On January 18, the EXPO will get underway with the Kick-Off Breakfast, this year featuring the Best Places to Work in Mississippi awards presentation. In its inaugural year, Best Places to Work uses employee input, evaluated independently by the Southern Research Group (SRG), to determine the finest workplaces in Mississippi in four size categories. In addition to SRG, other Best Places partners are Trustmark, the Mississippi Development Authority, SuperTalk 97.3 FM, Mississippi Society of Human Resource Management and U.S. NetworX.
MBJ publisher Joe D. Jones, CPA (retired), said, “The Best Places to Work in Mississippi offers a stimulating opportunity for great employers to be identified and recognized for raising the bar of excellence in Mississippi’s business climate.”
(For more information and/or to participate in the Best Places to Work in Mississippi awards program, visit http://www.bestplacestoworkinms.com/.)
The tradeshow floor will open immediately following the Kick-off Breakfast. The first day’s hours are 9:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., including the Business After-Hours networking party that will feature food from 25 restaurants, live music and a cash bar. (Business After-Hours, with sponsors the MetroJackson Chamber of Commerce, WLBT-TV and AmSouth Bank, will begin at 5 p.m., and is open to exhibitors and special guests only.)
At noon, the Top 40 Under 40 Luncheon will be held. A long-standing MBJ recognition program, the Top 40 Under 40 awards look to honor community and business leaders from around the state who are under the age of 40. In addition to the awards, information on each honoree will be provided via a multimedia presentation produced by EyeVox. This year’s sponsor is the law firm of Adams and Reese, LLP.
The EXPO will open at 10 a.m. January 19. The show will wrap up that afternoon at 3 p.m.
The second day’s festivities include the Business Woman of the Year Luncheon beginning at noon. This ceremony unveils the top business woman selected from the MBJ’s previously held 50 Leading Business Women program. In addition to recognizing this year’s honoree with a multimedia presentation, also produced by EyeVox, the event will offer live entertainment and speakers. The 2006 sponsors of the event are the Mississippi Economic Council, Regions Bank and BellSouth.
Bell pointed out how important these awards programs are to exhibitors at the tradeshow. “The awards events held during EXPO are attended by key decision makers from across the state,” she said. “These decision makers are given the opportunity to visit the tradeshow floor, adding to the quality of the people who come by the exhibitors.”
Another first for EXPO will be how the seminars are conducted. The MBJ has partnered with Hinds Community College’s Eagle Ridge Conference Center, whose professional trainers will conduct all of the free seminars, offering an opportunity for businesses to send their employees for quality instruction.
“Every year, EXPO grows a little more both in terms of the number of exhibitors and attendees as well as the quality of the show’s offerings. and every year, I wonder how we can top the one before,” Jones said. “Due to our many fine sponsors and partners, as well as the hard work of Robbie Bell and her team, EXPO keeps getting both bigger and better, and I’m expecting the 2006 version to be as good as it gets — until the next one, that is.”
Booths as well as sponsorships are still available. For more information, contact Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org/, or visit the MBJ Web site at http://www.msbusiness.com/, then choose “Special Events” from the menu.
Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at email@example.com.