Small business events like conferences and trade shows are a great place to learn new skills, network and get inspired by like-minded small business owners. So when was the last time you added one of these to your calendar?
Every now and then, it’s good to take some time off to learn more and improve your business. Whether you’re looking for practical advice, inspirational stories or the chance to network, here are some of the best small business events to attend in the UK in 2024.
This one shouldn’t be missing from any list of small business events to attend in the UK in 2024. Based right here in Edinburgh, Turing Fest is a two-day event focused on bringing together the smartest people from the small business, tech and start-up world.
The organisers describe it as: “a uniquely multi-disciplinary event with extremely high value content, connections, and conversations for people building and scaling technology businesses.”
HR and product managers, marketing experts, start-up founders and investors will be offering invaluable insights for small business owners. So there’s something for every aspect of your small business.
Past speakers have included guests like Rand Fishkin from Moz, Gareth Williams from Skyscanner, Courtney Seiter from Buffer and Jane Austin from Moo.com.
Scotland’s Trade Fair
When: 21-23 January 2024 / 18-19 August 2024
Who: product makers
More info: scotlandstradefairs.com
If you have a physical product to sell, attending a trade fair is a great way to connect with buyers and wholesalers. And it helps to get your products into shops.
Scotland’s Trade Fair has spring (January) and autumn (August) editions, both held in SEC Glasgow, which are ideal for creative small businesses.
Makers and designers from all sectors are welcome, including home & gift, fashion & accessories, craft, and food & drink. You’ll find lots of lovely handmade items at the trade fair, from luxury handbags to scented candles.
When: 25-26 April 2024 / 3-4 October 2024
Who: SEO and marketing people
More info: brightonseo.com
Among the small business events to attend in the UK in 2024, this is the best conference for search marketing. Even better: BrightonSEO takes place twice yearly and is also available via live video.
The event brings together some of the best experts in the world of search and SEO. The event includes inspiring talks, and hands on training which you can sign up for in advance.
Speakers at past events include Fernando Angulo from SEMrush, Steve Rayson from Buzzsumo, Taneth Evans from The Times and Kaspar Szymanski from Search Brothers. The training includes courses on everything from Google Analytics to copywriting and mobile SEO.
When: 25-26 June 2024
Who: e-commerce business owners
More info: etaileurope.wbresearch.com
For anyone who runs an e-commerce business, or whose online store forms a large part of their business, eTail’s conference is the event of the year.
Over two days, the organisers aim to provide “interactive action-packed strategies, peer to peer conversations, & connections with top minds from the Europe’s most successful & innovative retailers”. No fluff, just game changing tips and eye opening advice.
Past speakers include Rose Jia (Head of Growth Marketing for Amazon), Timo Raab (Global E-Commerce Director for Kiehls) and Katie Amey (General Manager of Social Media for Harrods).
When: 15-16 May 2024
Who: tech and digital people
More info: thinkingdigital.co.uk
Thinking Digital is unique among the small business events to attend in the UK in 2024 as it’s a conference focused on learning about new technologies and new ideas.
It’s perfect for small businesses in the tech sector, or people looking to embrace new technology to make their business as efficient and cutting-edge as possible.
There are a variety of workshops available to attend, followed by a full day of talks from world-class speakers. Previous speakers have included Dr Anita Sengrupta (an Aerospace Engineer at NASA), innovative musician Imogen Heap, psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman and virtual reality entrepreneur Darren Jobling.
The SME XPO is an event organised by the Evening Standard, to bring together small and medium business owners looking to scale up their businesses.
Covering everything from strategy to sustainability, this event is perfect for any business owner looking to network and gain valuable insights for growth.
Speakers have included the likes of business leader and investor Deborah Meaden, business founder Levi Roots, and Steven Young, senior vice president of Dell Technologies.
Where: Newcastle-upon-Tyne (and virtual event)
When: 17-18 June 2024
Who: business owners and marketers
More info: atomic.site
Part conference, part networking party, Atomicon is a must for any small business owners looking to gain new contacts. The aim is to arm attendees with “new skills, new ideas, new contacts, new confidence and a plan to grow your business faster than ever before“. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
The event is split over two days, and you can attend in person, or virtually. It will explore branding, community building, outsourcing, money and more.
Keynote speakers in 2024 include Davina McCall, as well as billion dollar brand founder Lisa Bilyeu, and podcaster and entrepreneur Jen Gottlieb.
UK Black Business Show
When: 19 October 2024
Who: Black business owners and entrepreneurs
More info: https://www.ukblackbusinessshow.co.uk/
The UK Black Business Show is an amazing opportunity for Black Business Owners and Professionals to network, be inspired and gain valuable insights to help grow their business.
The show is worth attending no matter what stage your business is at. With useful talks for start ups, early career professionals, those looking to scale up, and experienced business owners. There is something for everyone.
2023 speakers included founder and entrepreneur Steven Bartlett, journalist and writer Reni Eddo-Lodge and CEO/financial adviser/media personality Emmanuel Asuquo.
Events to look out for…
Additionally, here are some events which haven’t had a date announced yet – keep your eyes peeled for further announcements from the organisers!
Social Media Week Europe
When: Autumn 2024
Who: social media and marketing people
More info: event.adweek.com
This is a key event to look out for if you’re interested in social media marketing for your small business. With lots of fascinating talks and workshops, you’re sure to find something to suit you.
They are yet to release the 2024 dates, but the event usually takes place in the autumn (2023’s event was the 10th and 11th October). Keep your eyes peeled here for tickets going on sale!
If you’re a social media professional or a small business owner looking for the best way to utilise social media for your company, SMW is a great choice from all social media-focused small business events in the UK in 2024.
Big names have attended previous events, including representatives from Google, Pinterest, Facebook, Shutterstock, Twitter, BBC, Hootsuite and lots more.
Digital Women Live
When: 2024 date to be confirmed
Who: women working in digital
More info: https://digitalwomen.live/
Digital Women Live is a great event for any women working in the digital sector. An opportunity to meet new people and develop new skills, the 2023 event even came with the opportunity to gain a CPD certification.
The London based event brings together entrepreneurs, freelancers and more. Its a chance to network over lunch and drinks with likeminded digital professionals and learn from experts in their field.
The 2024 date has not yet been released, but keep your eyes peeled on the website linked above.
The London Business Show
When: 2024 date to be confirmed
Who: small business owners and entrepreneurs
More info: https://www.greatbritishbusinessshow.co.uk/
In 2023, the 45th edition of the London Business Show included 750 exhibitors, 200 inspiring seminars and countless unmissable masterclasses.
With knowledge shared by hundreds of business experts, this event will equip attendees with everything they need to succeed.
Speakers have included Head of Retail UK at Google, Harmony Murphy, Brand Partnerships Manager at TikTok, Ed Wilson, and Business Specialist Lead at Starling Bank, Gurpreet Singh Gill.
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
7 Networking Events & Clubs to Join in Edinburgh
6 Tips for Exhibiting at a Conference or Trade Show
7 Lessons I’ve Learned in Business Networking
How to Make Your Local Business Event a Success