The inaugural Bay of Plenty/Waikato Business Expo kicked off today.

The event was opened this morning by Waikato MP Tim van de Molen with exhibitors attending from across the North Island.

Billed as "the expo where business gets done", organisers said it was a valuable chance for companies to tap into one of New Zealand's most prosperous regions which was home to an estimated 700,000 people and 85,000 businesses.

Event Director Sharon Giblett of Jigsaw Solutions Group said entrepreneurs, businesses and professionals from as far away as Auckland, Wellington and Taupo would be exhibiting at the event and were keen to be part of the action.


"This expo is more than a networking event. With quality exhibitors in attendance it's a place to tap into expert knowledge, create new opportunities, generate leads and connect with customers and suppliers that can effectively grow your business," she said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said he was delighted to see the regional Business Expo concept come to Tauranga, and to see that it was being so well supported.

"The Chambers of Commerce from Tauranga, Hamilton and Rotorua are all involved and will share a presence at the expo," Gregec said.

"We think the success of the inaugural event is a good barometer of the local economies in our wider regions at the moment. Tauranga is part of this network of growth regions, with so much happening, and we are thrilled that we can play host to this event this year."

The wide range of exhibitors at the event included finance and insurance, trademark lawyers, media, marketing and communications, education, training, recruitment, human resources, travel, exporting, transport and more. A series of 30-minute seminars will also run throughout the day to provide useful advice to visitors and exhibitors, while speed-networking in the Business Lounge will add an entertaining twist to how people interact.

Hamish White, chief executive of NOW Phone & Broadband, which provides unified collaboration and telecommunication solutions to businesses throughout the North Island, says the inaugural Bay of Plenty/Waikato Business Expo provides a platform for the business to showcase its offering among some of the best businesses in the region.

"We're excited to be exhibiting at the first of its kind Bay of Plenty/Waikato Business Expo and look forward to the collaboration and learning that comes from attending events like these," White said.

Organisers were looking at the possibility of future events being hosted across Tauranga, Hamilton and Rotorua.