25 - 26
MAY 2022
DAY ONE 09.30-17.00
DAY TWO 09.30-16.00


9th November, 2021

Today the Evening Standard, London’s most iconic newsbrand, launches a brand-new, free-to-attend exhibition and conference for the leaders of ambitious SMEs at London’s Olympia. SME XPO will provide the connections, insights and inspiration that SMEs need, at the time they need it most. CISCO and the Department of International Trade become the first partners to back this vital initiative to support small businesses.

Seismic shifts in the way we work, live and trade are combining to permanently change the UK economy, meaning that its lifeblood – small business owners – need support to turn their big ambitions into reality, now more than ever. At the heart of these SMEs are people compelled to bring an idea to life and work tirelessly to create amazing new products and services, even from difficult economic realities. The Evening Standard, has created SME XPO, with an ambition to turn the dreams of these business owners into reality.

Charles Yardley, ceo, Evening Standard said today: “Our national and regional economy relies on small businesses to drive innovation and employment. The Evening Standard is backing these businesses, and calling for our partners to do the same, at a time when their success has never been more critical”.

Holly Tucker, co-founder of Notonthehighstreet and keynote speaker, is using her start-up Holly & Co to encourage more people to set up their own small businesses. “We're seeing a shift towards SME start ups that's going to keep growing. To make sure as many as possible succeed we're going to need events like the Evening Standard festival," says Tucker. “Any time that we can get people together - networking, telling stories, sharing vulnerability, sharing experience, it’s just incredible how many opportunities it creates. After this bleak time where we've all felt very, very isolated and vulnerable, that's more important than ever.” 

Also looking forward to the Evening Standard event is Tej Lalvani, 47, chief executive of Vitabiotics, maker of supplements including Wellman and WellWoman, and former business “dragon” from the BBC’s Dragons’ Den. He says SMEs are the lifeblood of innovation. “They pick up on change and new ideas faster than large firms. They are the key to bringing innovation into the market.” 

“SMEs are now more important than ever. We've just had the biggest change in history for UK businesses - in an 18 month period. The pandemic was a huge seismic shift to digital, especially direct to consumer selling. And, of course, there have also been changes in employee working practices, Brexit, new export and VAT regulations kicking in and, lately, supply chain issues. That's all created so much confusion and raised so many questions that small business startups would like to have answered.” The conference “will help to provide clarity,” he says. 

Kike Oniwinde, SME XPO speaker, founder and chief executive officer of the BYP Network, and organiser of the BYP Network Leadership Conference said: “In a post-pandemic world, small businesses will need all the resources and support possible to thrive, especially due to attracting top talent, the need to innovate with technology and the competition to be seen in front of consumers”.

SME XPO, event director, Sam North said: “The message from the UK’s SMEs is clear – they are ready to grow but need support to do it. They are in our DNA which is why the Evening Standard is stepping up to the plate to bring together a world-class line-up of inspiring speakers, networking sessions and innovative partners. I would urge any business that can help ambitious SMEs thrive to come on board”.

Suppliers to the SME market are encouraged to become sponsors and exhibitors. SME XPO partners will benefit from face-to-face interaction with 5,000+ SME decision makers at the event plus an extensive five-month marketing campaign across all Evening Standard channels. 

About SME XPO:

  • SME XPO launch partners include: CISCO and the Department for International Trade. 

  • Keynote speakers include: Tej Lalvani, Debbie Wosskow (Founder of AllBright Women’s Network) and Spencer Craig (Pure) and Holly Tucker (Notonthehighstreet, Holly & Co).

  • Free event includes: 5,000 SME founders and owners, 150+ best in class suppliers, 120+ speakers, 8 keynote speakers, 120 hours of free learning on investment, scaling-up, ESG and more. 20 roundtable discussions, where attendees can choose a topic, join a table hosted by an industry expert, and make valuable connections with business owners

  • Visitors benefit from advice from experienced small business owners that can take their business to the next level plus the chance to network with successful entrepreneurs and learn from the legendary entrepreneurs that have gone before them. 

  • Bringing them face to face with 150+ best in class enterprise solutions and service providers in one of the largest halls at Olympia London

Credit: SME XPO, 25-26 May 2022, Olympia London

Action: For more information on sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities email sam.north@esimadia.co.uk or visit www.smexpo.co.uk to register for free.