Theo Paphitis is the chairman of hardware and housewares chain Robert Dyas and high street stationery specialist Ryman the Stationer, and the owner of lingerie chain Boux Avenue.
In 2010 he launched the #SBS initiative on Twitter to help small businesses. Each week hundreds of business owners tweet Theo at @TheoPaphitis and describe their businesses in one tweet including the hashtag #SBS.
Every Monday night at 8pm, Theo reviews and chooses his favourite six tweets, which are then re-tweeted to his half a million followers.
Those businesses are then invited to become part of the 2,300-strong #SBS community, who network and support each other. Every year, winners are invited to a free event which is full of advice and guest speakers, and get the opportunity to meet Theo and receive a certificate of their win.
Members of Theo’s #SBS community can now compete for 12 free exhibition spots at the Fair, which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham from September 2 to September 5.
The #SBS Pavilion will host the winners in a showcase dedicated to highlighting new and unique products from start-ups and small businesses.
Theo said: “I’m thrilled to be bringing #SBS to Autumn Fair, giving 12 small businesses a free platform to showcase their wares and access a brand new marketplace.
“#SBS was born due to the sheer number of business owners on Twitter who wanted to tell me about their new products and services.
“It exists so these passionate entrepreneurs have a dedicated space to share their ideas and ‘pitch’ for endorsement. It’s therefore a natural match to bring our initiative to Autumn Fair: an event similarly dedicated to championing retailers, their energy and entrepreneurial spirit.”
Louise Young, managing director of Spring & Autumn Fair, commented: “Each year, Autumn Fair showcases the best and most innovative ideas and products to inspire buyers throughout the Golden Quarter and beyond.
“It’s hugely exciting for us to be welcoming Theo and 12 new #SBS businesses to the Fair, with Theo providing these small businesses with a platform that will allow them to really shine and boost their order books.”