TWO companies got on so well at last year’s Huntingdonshire Business Fair that they have teamed up to sponsor this year’s premier commercial event.

Award-winning IT support company BrightVisions, from St Neots, sparked with website designer Granite 5, based at Croydon, near Wimpole, at the 2010 fair at Wood Green Animal Shelter in Godmanchester, where they were both exhibiting.

In the 10 months since then they have passed each other a series of leads for IT clients wanting web services and vice versa.

The relationship has been so productive for both companies that they decided to sponsor the event at which they met.

The Huntingdonshire Business Fair 2011, which is organised by Huntingdonshire Chamber of Commerce and the district branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and supported by The Hunts Post, is back at the animal centre on Thursday April 7 thanks in good measure to the two sponsors.

BrightVision’ business development manager Matt Bunnage explained: “We got chatting with Granite 5 and gelled really well. We wanted to re-design our website and we got them to do it. We were so impressed that, since then we have passed a load of leads their way, and they have done the same for us.

“The relationship has really been working well – and we’re very pleased with our website, too, so we can pass on our customers to Granite 5 in absolute confidence that they will be properly looked after.”

More than 500 people – visitors and around 100 exhibitors – were at last April’s event, a number the organisers hope to beat roundly this year.

Malcolm Lyons, the FSB’s Huntingdonshire chairman, believes that as well as being Huntingdonshire’s prime annual opportunity to show off goods and services and to network with potential clients and suppliers, the event is also a showcase for local business to parents, sixth-formers and undergraduates.

“It gives a very good insight into the type of business that goes on in this area,” he said. “Obviously, it’s also good for its core purpose, the exchange of business.

“And it clearly works. More than 90 per cent of exhibitors last year said they would come back again because of the amount of business they had done at the fair. We have already had a very good response for this year’s event. And there’s plenty of room to expand it.

“It’s not the East of England Show, but historically it has been worthwhile, with between 90 and 117 stands in previous years.”

In addition to commercial and networking opportunities, the fair this year will include a programme of seminars, including Alex Plant, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Horizons, on progress in establishing the local enterprise partnership.

The Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough Partnership, which also covers commercially-related areas of adjoining counties and will replace some of the functions of the East of England Development Agency, which is due to disappear in 2013, is one of the first LEPs to have been backed by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.

INFORMATION: To book stand space (£50-120 for Chamber and FSB members, £20 more for non-members, all plus VAT) contact Maria Briggs on 01223 209817, e-mail m.briggs@cambscci.co.uk, or Purplehaze virtual resource services on 01638 778691, e-mail admin@purplehaze-va.com