Building on the success of the 2016 FSB Village, members from every Branch across the Northern Ireland Region took part this year in the busiest Balmoral Show to date, with almost 120,000 people visiting the Maze site between the 10 and 13 May. Within the FSB Village visitors had the opportunity to meet an artist, discuss interior landscape ideas and automatic lawnmowers for your garden, peruse a range of recipes, gifts and paints, check out some office furniture and mobile washing lines, arrange for your vehicle fleet to be washed, undergo hypnosis, and get advice on training, water treatment, financial planning, elderly care, fire safety and insurance – as well, of course, as meeting FSB’s own team of Membership Advisers, members and staff. Throughout the four days, exhibitors met with potential customers and suppliers, and had opportunities to introduce their products and services to a range of politicians including MEPs, MPs, MLAs and Councillors, as well as building their networks with other FSB Members. With a huge social media presence, and a series of fantastic live video ads for their businesses, the Show was a great opportunity to raise the profile of their brands and unique selling points.
We were also joined in the FSB Village by Professor Mark Durkin and colleagues from the Ulster Business School, who were launching an exciting initiative, helping to bring world class research, along with novel and innovative applications, to meet the commercial needs of agri-food businesses across Northern Ireland.
At the FSB Stand we met with a huge range of potential members, to whom we highlighted the benefits of membership, as well as reminding existing members of new offerings such as cyber protection and crisis PR management. Feedback from those members who exhibited was hugely positive, with most rating their experience as “excellent” and thanking FSB and RUAS staff for their support.