SOMERSET, NJ - More than 500 people attended Biz Fest 2018, Somerset County's ‘hyper-local’ trade show and networking event, on Thursday at the Imperia.

The Somerset County Business Partnership (SCBP) organized the event.  SCBP Vice President of Business Services Chris Edwards said that this year's Biz Fest was a huge success. 

"This has been fantastic, we had about 150 more people pre-register this year compared to last," Edwards said. "The walk-ins have been higher than normal, but we probably won't know the full total until next week. At least 500, maybe 600 people attended Biz Fest today."

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According to Edwards, Biz Fest had 80 exhibitors and sold out before Memorial Day this year. More than 20 exhibitors had to be turned away.

Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-16) attended the event and said he would want to see a statewide Biz Fest event. 

"I think it is really important to attend business supported functions like Biz Fest," Freiman said. "I think anything the government can do to help support business is vital to the overall growth of the economy. The Somerset County Business Partnership plays a key role bridging business and government."

Related article: Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners Pitch Ideas to 'Sharks' at Chamber Event

Biz Fest originated as an event entitled Small Biz Connection eight years ago and went through a re-branding five years ago, and has been growing in size every year.

Lisa Pupa, director of community relations for Natural Medicine and Rehabilitation based out of Somerset attended the event for the first time and had a positive experience. 

"It was great speaking to the attendees about the services we provide for our patients as well as having an opportunity to speak with corporations about the community outreach we provide through our workplace wellness programs," Pupa said. "Where else can you go to meet so many other local corporations at one time.  It was an enjoyable networking event."

Edwards credited this year's growth to word of mouth, radio spots, and advertising on sites like TAPinto. 

Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce (FTCC), board member Francesco Prandoni felt the event went well. 

"This is the greatest small business event in Somerset County and the outcome was above our expectations," Prandoni said. "It is a great opportunity to meet old friends and new business and it’s great for networking."

"Another great event in Franklin Township," FTCC President, Juanita Painson said. "Thanks to the collaboration of the Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce and the Somerset County Business Partnership, we were able to expose businesses to each other. A warm thank you, everyone, who showcased or attended the BizFest 2018. The participation in this event was excellent and the attendees were able to access extensive knowledge in a vast cross-section of industries."

In addition to networking, attendees had the opportunity to enjoy food tastings and door prizes.  

Atlantic Health System, Hunterdon Healthcare, and Wells Fargo were presenting sponsors. 

Affinity Federal Credit Union, and New Jersey Institute of Technology Division of Continuing Education, RRBB Accountants & Advisors, Rutgers Division of Consumer Studies, Investors Bank-Somerset, Somerset Savings Bank SLA, TapSnap, Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce, Fulton Bank of NJ, and Unity Bank also sponsored the event. 

TAP here to download the list of exhibitors. 

About the SCBP:

The Somerset County Business Partnership (SCBP) serves as Somerset County’s regional Chamber of Commerce and the essential partner for doing business in Somerset County. The SCBP enjoys a unique public-private partnership with County government to provide economic development and tourism services.

The mission of the SCBP is to lead the business community to a prosperous and sustainable future, offering members opportunities to grow their businesses through networking, advocacy, workforce initiatives, and educational events. Members and investors represent public, private and community organizations, working in partnership and dedicated to maintaining and promoting economic prosperity and quality of life in Somerset County. The Business Partnership serves as the platform to gain critical information, brand a business, develop leadership skills and learn how specific business strategies can improve profitability.