In April, the Seacoast School of Technology (SST) in Exeter held its 10th Annual Small Business Showcase, which has grown from 20 participating businesses in its first year to 80 businesses and more than 300 attendees.

According to Sandra Flannigan, SST Marketing Technologies Instructor, the purpose behind the showcase is for Marketing Technologies II students to use the skills they learn during their two years in class in a real-life scenario. She said another objective is to work with the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce and Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce to bring businesses together from the Seacoast area and participate in business to business and business to customer marketing.

“Students start planning the event in December as their capstone project for Marketing Technologies II,” she said. “They use materials from previous years and work together as a group to make decisions on how they will run it this year. They are responsible for every aspect of the event. Students make many phone calls to get businesses to commit to attending, advertise for the event and they must solicit for door prizes as well.”

In planning the event, she said students break into four separate groups: Sponsorship, Logistics, Promotions and Marketing, and Exhibitor Relations. “They plan the menu and work with our Culinary Arts program to provide hors d’oeuvres,” she added. “They also needed to make sure the room is set-up perfectly and that everything runs smoothly.”

Flannigan said the best part about the event is that students actually plan and execute it, as she acknowledged she only works as an advisor if they have any questions. “They are free to change the event year to year so that it will be successful with their own spin on it,” she said. “Students learn how to work with others, gain leadership skills and experience all the details that go into planning a successful event.”