Janesville27.8°

Business expo reaching out regionally

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JAMES P. LEUTE
October 14, 2011
What: Rock Regional Business Expo
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20.
Where: Eclipse Center, Beloit.
Cost: $5, which includes expo admission and entrance into the Business After 5 event.
Lunch: $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers.
Participating chambers: Forward Janesville, Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Evansville, Edgerton, Brodhead and Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce.

Why you should go: Since the annual event adopted a regional flair in 2009, it's popularity has been growing, said Jennie Krajeck, Forward Janesville's director of events and small business services.


"This year we've moved it out of Janesville to the beautiful Eclipse Center in Beloit," she said. "The goal is to keep the same base of attendees and vendors from Janesville and draw more from Beloit."


The regional concept is intended to promote the thinking that the area and its communities can do better from an economic development perspective if they act regionally, rather than competing individually, Krajeck said.


"Another goal is to get people into these facilities and help them recognize the potential that's available," she said.


The expo is one of the area's premiere networking events. It gives people a good idea of the goods and services available in the region.


Last year's expo drew 130 vendors; this year, up to 150 are expected, Krajeck said. Throughout the day, more than 1,200 people are expected to come through the doors.


New addition: The Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce is new to the expo this year.

"Smaller chambers can't do something like this by themselves," Krajeck said, adding that next year's event could include even more chambers of commerce. "This gives their members a chance to participate in a larger event and do it at rates they can afford."


Special treat: Filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein will be the keynote speaker at the expo's luncheon.

Lichtenstein has spent more than two years in Rock County filming "As Goes Janesville," which will air nationally on the PBS series "Independent Lens" in October 2012. He has followed several members of the community in an effort to tell the story of how Rock County has reinvented its economy in the wake of General Motors' departure, the national recession and the political unrest of 2011.


"Brad's talk will be very interesting," Krajeck said. "He'll talk about his personal observations of the area and show a few clips from the film."


For more information: Visit rockbusinessexpo.com.

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