Gifts Today magazine

Entrepreneurs: The garden industry needs you

Startups, entrepreneurs and innovators from a wide range of backgrounds are being encouraged to take part in this year’s ‘Innovators Zone’ at the Glee garden, gift, home and leisure trade show (NEC, Birmingham, 10-12 September 2018)

Glee attracts over 7000 visitors from department stores, supermarkets, DIY chains, gift shops and garden centres – including big names such as Amazon, B&Q and John Lewis. The UK’s largest garden trade show attracts over 500 exhibitors and for members of the innovators zone, the chance to win £5000.

Launched in 2009, the Glee Innovators Zone has already helped more than 200 companies break into the garden retail market. Designed to help nurture valuable grass-roots product development and one-off design ideas, the area bridges the gap between market-ready new product launches and established companies, and provides a showcase to pre-commercial product ideas.

Exhibitors in the Innovators Zone can apply for the annual Garden Industry Manufacturers Association Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund, which is designed to help start-up businesses take their product from concept to reality. The winner receives £5000, ongoing support from industry experts and free membership to GIMA which includes access to exclusive networking events and a reduced rate on stand space at subsequent trade shows such as Glee and the Garden Press Event.

Previous winners of the GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund have gone on to achieve immediate success as a result of their time at Glee. 2017 winners Bio-Bean spent four years marketing its Coffee Logs, high-performance sustainable briquettes for use in stoves, fires and chimeneas prior to exhibiting, and were struggling to find the right kinds of retail partners for their product. At Glee they achieved just that, with an on-stand team of three leaving with well over 100 quality leads. Pippa Henderson, Marketing Communications Executive for Bio-Bean said: 'So many people told us to exhibit at Glee and they were right, it has been a great experience. We’ve already booked for next year.'

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