Last week, the team from Capsa Solutions spent 3 days exhibiting at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris, a key event in the global nuclear calendar that attracts over 23,000 visitors and has more than 780 exhibitors.
We were selected to exhibit as part of the WNE start-up program, run by the organisers and designed to give entrepreneurs in the nuclear sector the opportunity to exhibit for free and receive support in taking our business to the next level. As part of the program, we were given access to a range of mentors offering advice and support on themes including commercialisation, funding, global markets and operations. We were one of twenty successful start-ups selected from eighty applicants and were privileged to be supported in exhibiting at such a prestigious event.
Why WNE was right for us
The most significant outcome of our time at WNE was in meeting the right people at the right level. Our target market is waste producers, and getting in front of the decision-makers in these companies can be a challenge, particularly for an SME start-up. The visitors to the show proved to be happy to engage with us and to offer support in reaching colleagues who were interested in speaking with us about our nuclear waste management solutions.
Meeting with people who are willing to give up their time to offer advice and support is humbling. We were offered a range of useful advice that was, at times, conflicting – however, the nature of business is subjective and to be able to call on experience from people within relevant markets and who had been on a similar journey themselves was extremely useful. Our team have a good level of experience already in the nuclear industry and the conversations we had supported some of our existing views and knowledge but challenged us in other areas, which was exactly what we were looking for.
The exhibition was big and included exhibitors from throughout the entire nuclear supply chain, with an excellent level of footfall representing all areas of this global industry. As part of the start-up village our own stand was fairly modest, but we were able to bring along a working prototype of a 500L waste container to display, which gave us a great talking point and drew people to our stand. The start-up area was well attended, brilliantly set out with a seating area and café bar, and the buzz among our fellow exhibitors was great. We were extremely busy talking to visitors and meeting with people throughout the event, but the speaker sessions that we managed to attend at the conference were interesting and relevant.
The online networking platform was excellent and enabled us to arrange meetings in advance, with multiple visitors engaging us directly to find out more about our solutions.
Overall, we’re extremely pleased to have been selected for the start-up program – it did require a lot of preparation work in terms of time and resource to get the most out of the show, but it was absolutely worthwhile and we’ve come home with a lot more work to do as a result; exactly as it should be! And, to top it all off, we were lucky enough to experience some traditional French cuisine outside of show hours, including a meal at Bouillon Chartier, a Parisian institution!