Central Maine businesses and jobseekers will gather Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center for the annual Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.

Chamber President Katie Doherty said the event is a “one-stop shop” at which participants can network, promote their products or services or even pursue a new career.

The event will feature more than 100 businesses with central Maine locations. Admission to the event, which runs from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., is free.

This year’s Expo is taking place in conjunction with the chamber’s Business After Hours event, a monthly networking opportunity for chamber members and guests.

Jobseekers are urged to bring copies of their résumés because some businesses will be conducting interviews in private booths. Dozens of businesses that are hiring will be marked with balloons.

Doherty said last year’s event was the first time the hiring portion was added. She said one business hired three new employees at the Expo. She said others might have been hired, but not all business had reported back to the chamber.

A new addition this year is “speed networking,” which is a play on speed dating  Groups of about 20 people will quickly cycle through short exchanges with business owners during three one-hour sessions. Doherty said it is a good way to meet people, especially if a business owner or jobseeker is not comfortable in a large group setting, like the After Hours events.

“It’s a quick way to network in a formal setting,” she said. “Some people aren’t comfortable in a big group.”

Exhibitors will be giving away more than $6,000 in prizes to attendees, including a $1,000 cash prize. Food and a cash bar will also be available at the event.

The Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1932 and has more than 600 member businesses and organizations in 23 communities.


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