The future of the Yorkshire Business Market has been secured following The Yorkshire Society taking a two-thirds stake in the organisation.
Co-founders Brian and Beryl Dunsby, who have been at the helm of the annual event since its inception 14 years ago, are handing over their shares to The Yorkshire Society and their directorships to Philip Bell and Andy Chaffer, both directors of The Yorkshire Society and executive team members.
Crucially, Mark Lancaster, YBM Co-Founder and Chairman will remain in his role and work closely with the two new directors in organising and delivering next year’s business showcase.
The Yorkshire Business Market was created in 2005 when, as Chief Executive of Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce, Mr Dunsby was looking for ways to boost the local economy.
Staged annually at Pavilions of Harrogate, the Yorkshire Business Market has been held successfully every year since as a low-cost business-to-business promotion opportunity.
Whilst the size of the event has fluctuated, the average number of businesses participating over the 14 years has been 126 exhibitors, whilst visitor numbers have averaged well over 1,000 business owners and managers each year.
Yorkshire Business Market Chairman Mark Lancaster said: “I’m delighted to welcome my new co-directors, Philip Bell and Andy Chaffer, to The Yorkshire Business Market board.
“They are highly experienced and competent businessmen, and both play key roles within The Yorkshire Society with Philip being its Chief Executive Officer and Andy its Financial Director.
“This new partnership means the future of the Yorkshire Business Market is secure and we can now begin the important task of planning next year’s event.”
He added: “I would also like to pay tribute to Brian and Beryl for their unstinting work over the last 15 years. Without them there wouldn’t be a Yorkshire Business Market. They have been instrumental in turning it into the Harrogate District’s premier business event.”
Philip Bell said: “The Yorkshire Business Market is a perfect fit for The Yorkshire Society to be partnered with. Both are not-for-profit organisations and both celebrate and promote the economy.
“Over the years we have recognised the business promotion and networking benefits that the Yorkshire Business Market has to offer. We now have plans to grow the business market within Harrogate and, thanks to its successful formula, it can be replicated across the Yorkshire region.”
The Yorkshire Business Market has been administered by the Perlex Associates team headed by Maggie Hall, who has worked with Brian and Beryl for a variety of associations and events for over 30 years.
They are now aiming to reduce their workload in order to concentrate primarily on the highly successful Harrogate Christmas Market.
The seventh Christmas Market will be on Thursday, November 15 to Sunday, November 18 in its usual location on the edge of the Stray around St Mary’s Walk, between Montpellier Hill and Cold Bath Road.
If that event is as successful as it has been in recent years, then the team aim to repeat the same plans in November 2019, whilst seeking a suitable not-for-profit organisation to carry it forward into the next decade.
The Christmas Market certainly benefits the town centre economy whilst also donating the surplus to several local charitable bodies that also attract visitors to Harrogate.