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MBJ's Mississippi Marketplace begins Friday as it celebrates 31st year with new name

MBJ-Biz-Marketplace-2014_rgbThe MBJ Business Marketplace gets under way today at the Mississippi Trade Mart at the fairgrounds in Jackson with a new name and new features.

EVENT TICKET (Download, fill out and get FREE admission to the MBJ Business Marketplace)

Formerly the Mississippi Business & Technology EXPO, the revamped and renamed Marketplace still is the largest business-to-business gathering in the state.  Admission is free to adults with a business card.

Now in its 31st year, the event continues to grow and improve to give participants — the general public and the vendors — a chance to network while vendors showcase their products and services.

» READ MORE: MBJ Marketplace Activity Aisle to entertain again this year

» READ MORE: Awards ceremonies highlight MBJ’s Business Marketplace

» READ MORE: Volunteers make MBJ’s Business Marketplace flow smoothly

» READ MORE: The do’s and dont’s of the MBJ’s Business Marketplace

» READ MORE: Business meets pleasure at After Hours

This year, for the first time, some vendors will be selling their products on the showroom floor. It’s something the vendors have asked for in the past, according to organizers. “Things have evolved over the years,” said Mississippi Business Journal Circulation Manager Charina Rhodes. “We have opened the Marketplace up for people who want to shop to pull in more traffic.” Vendors also will be giving away door prizes.

Mississippi Business Journal Advertising Director Tami Jones said the list of vendors includes accounting firms, cellular providers, higher education institutions, state agencies and casinos.

The Marketplace is sponsored by the Mississippi Business Journal and Comcast Business, which will have a Cyber Cafe on site to provide wireless service to visitors.

Among the new sponsors is WAPT. Stuart Kellogg, 16WAPT’s president and general manager, said, “We are excited to be part of the Marketplace. 16WAPT is focused on helping to make our community stronger. That includes making sure we have a strong business community providing economic opportunities for everyone.”

The Marketplace agenda is packed, starting with the first of two ticketed events. The Health Care Heroes breakfast at 8 a.m. will honor outstanding members in the medical field who have made significant contributions to their profession and their community.

The exhibits open with a 9:30 a.m. ribbon cutting. At 11:30 a.m. leaders in the finance industry will be honored for outstanding contributions in the community as well as in their profession. The ticketed lunch begins at 11:30 a.m.

Throughout the day, the popular Activity Aisle will feature cartoonist Ricky Noble drawing caricatures and handwriting analyst Ann Henderson deciphering script and scribblings.

“She was busy the entire time last year, “Rhodes said. “They really love her.”

The exhibit area will be closed at 3:30 p.m. and then transformed for Business After Hours featuring networking and food samples provided by caterers and restaurants including Mangia Bene, Table 100 and Provision 1908. There will be an open cash bar and live music by Chris Gill and the Sole Shakers. Business After Hours will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. “That way people will still have time to get to the Friday night football games,” Rhodes said.

About Lisa Monti