50 inspiring business events that are FREE to attend this April

We list the best small business and startup events across the UK that will cost you nothing to attend this April.

Our experts

We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.
Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

‘Go to an event.’ It’s a constant refrain for entrepreneurs, but for busy business owners buried under mountainous to-do lists and endless SMART objectives, the task of finding conferences, workshops, or networking sessions to sign up to can easily fall by the wayside.

But attending industry events can be vital for both nascent startup owners and those in scaling companies. Connections that are forged face-to-face often provide an unparalleled, practical learning experience that’s far more valuable than what one can glean from behind a desk.

To help out, we’ve pulled together 50 of the best UK business conferences, events, and coffee-fuelled meet-ups this April. All of them are free to attend and provide a supportive place for entrepreneurs to learn, share best practice, and ultimately, grow their business.

Free business events in London

April is a huge month for small business owners based in and around the capital. Notably, two large-scale business events will be held at the ExCeL business centre this month, beginning with the International Franchise Show.

Held on April 12 and 13 the event features over 250 exhibitors and is designed to give SMEs access to franchising opportunities, growth tips, and investment advice.

Later in the month, the SME XPO is a free networking exhibition taking place on 23 and 24 April. Run by the Evening Standard, it will be attended by 4,000 business owners, alongside special guest speakers including Charlie Bigham and the dragon himself, Theo Paphitis.

Other free London business events in April include:

  • Women in Tech (25 April at 6pm) an online event for women in STEM to share personal insights and projects they are working on.
  • Engage with eCommerce at The Shard (16 April at 6pm) a series of workshops, seminars, and networking receptions for entrepreneurs in the ecommerce industry.
  • Parents in Business at The Gate Library (17 April at 11am) a supportive network for working mums and working dads to help them navigate looking after a business and a family.
  • The Small Business Table at Maqam Centre (15 April at 12:30pm) a monthly meetup where attendees sit at one large table as a focal point for connection.
  • Business Growth Networking at Natwest Islington (19 April at 10am) a 1.5 hour session where local firms will meet and share insights on their plans for 2024.

Free business events in Newcastle


Easily the biggest event for Newcastle-based business owners this April is the North East Expo, held at Newcastle Racecourse on Thursday April 25. As the region’s largest one day business event, it attracts over 1,000 delegates from every kind of sector.

As part of the event, Newcastle Chamber of Commerce will host its Stand Up and Be Counted pitching session. Starting from 11am, participants deliver a 60 second elevator pitch presentation to other delegates in the room for feedback and skills development.

Other free Newcastle business events in April include:

  • Earthlings in Business at the Earthlings Healing Cafe (11 April at 10am) a meet-up event for purpose-led, wellbeing focused businesses or entrepreneurs to share insights on balancing social impact with entrepreneur targets.
  • PLATFORM at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle (26 April at 9am) an all-day event featuring talks, presentations, and pitches with investors and collaborators.
  • Health sector investment conference at The Catalyst (30 April at 9:30am) expert discussions and workshops tailored for healthcare firms looking to raise money.

Free business events in Leeds

  • Start-Up and Grow Workshop at Leeds Central Library (13 April at 9am) a two-day workshop for Leeds residents to draft a business plan and financial strategy.
  • Training and Skills for Businesses at Leeds Beckett (30 April at 4pm) an employer workshop offering tips and tricks on how to upskill your workforce.
  • Each Tuesday at 11am, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) hosts a virtual networking event for businesses based in West Yorkshire. As part of an hour-long session, business owners can connect with like-minded entrepreneurs for support and motivation away from an intimidating conference setting.

Free business events in Sheffield

Tech Climbers is a national initiative which aims to support scaling tech businesses in Greater Manchester and Liverpool. This April, it will mark its return to Yorkshire with a celebratory launch at Sheffield’s Trafalgar Warehouse on 18 April at 5pm.

Aiming to highlight the top tech businesses in the region, the evening will be a hive for tech leaders and investors – making it a must-attend event for innovative local tech entrepreneurs. 

Other free Sheffield business events in April include:

  • Mums in Leadership at Sheffield Technology Parks (18 April at 11am) a safe space for mums in leadership roles to socialise and share their experiences of balancing business duties with motherhood.
  • Profit Acceleration Workshop at Sheffield Technology Parks (18 April at 6pm) for peer-to-peer advice on how to increase profitable cash flow and build a solid financial foundation.
  • Sheffield AI Spring at Hideaway (30 April at 6pm) a night of expert talks for software developers with an interest in the use of AI to develop new business tools.

Free business events in Manchester

Manchester skyline

Manchester Business Show returns to Broadhurst Park this month. The B2B networking event is designed to connect local SMEs with local decision-makers, industry leaders, and potential clients.

Boasting eight seminars and hundreds of exhibitors, this year’s showcase includes a morning coffee session with a LinkedIn influencer, and a speed dating session run by networking guru, Caroline Andrew. The event takes place on April 24 at 10am.

Other free Manchester business events in April include:

  • Smiley Happy People networking at The Con Club (9 April at 9:30am) an evening of informal networking for budding business owners, plus an in-person Q&A with a successful founder.
  • Confidently Come Speaking at DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Airport (13 April at 9:30am) for female entrepreneurs to try their hand at public speaking with a series of workshop sessions and mentorship speeches.
  • Collaborating for Growth at Manchester Met University (17 April at 1pm) an excellent opportunity for scaling entrepreneurs to gain expert advice on growing your business – including a chance to win funded support from the university.

Free business events in Liverpool


  • Liverpool Hospitality Trade Show on April 24 at Black Lodge Brewery (24 April at 12pm). Everyone from landladies to sommeliers can join the event for free to connect with suppliers, sample their products, and hear from industry experts on the latest food and drink trends that will be shaping the sector this year.
  • Design Your Future Showcase at Scale Liverpool (28 April at 5pm) a showcase of graduate and student talent within the Liverpool City Region, this event is a great way for entrepreneurs to connect with young talent and meet investors.

Free business events in Birmingham

Birmingham, UK.

The most important event in the Brummy business calendar arrives this April. Birmingham Business Expo is the city’s largest business show and will kick off at 10am on 18th April 2024 at St Andrew’s Stadium.

Attendees can expect to meet 400 investors, sector leaders, and fellow entrepreneurs. They’ll also hear from leading business speakers, engage in speed networking, and attend tens of free seminars and workshops.

Other free Birmingham business events in April include:

  • Brummies Networking at Grosvenors Casino (9 April at 11am) a monthly networking session for informal networking fuelled by free teas and coffees.
  • Setting Up For Success at Natwest Accelerator Hub (15 April at 10am) the first in a series of building block sessions for early-stage entrepreneurs, this event covers everything from goal setting to testing, validating, and pitching.
  • Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce networking at Albert Schloss (17 April at 2pm) an open event for a relaxed evening of conversation with local business decision-makers and Chamber of Commerce experts.
  • Launch Event at Women’s Enterprise and Community Hub (30 April at 10am) the specialist coworking provider and social enterprise is launching its first networking event in what will be a monthly series for women-led business owners.

Free business events in Coventry


  • Talking Industry Live at The Manufacturing Technology Centre (30 April at 8:30am) a free event now in its second year for all those in the manufacturing and engineering community, attendees can engage in networking and refreshments in between live panel discussion from sector titans.
  • Talbots In Coventry at The Lazy Monkey (25 April at 4:30pm) an evening of relaxed conversations between budding entrepreneurs and industry professionals, held in a modern bar serving Indian street food.

Free business events in Nottingham


  • Ebony Expo Black Business Market at Queens Walk Community Centre on April 27 (start time 12pm), a community fair designed for exhibiting Black small business owners to showcase their products to new audiences, and for fellow small retailers to connect with potential partners.
  • KuKu Connect Nottinghamshire at Axed Nottingham (10 April at 6pm) the only networking event where entrepreneurs can mingle with each other and throw a heavy metal axe at a wooden target (and yes, complimentary drinks are provided).

Free business events in Cambridge

  • Innovating for the Future at The Canopy CISL (23 April at 12:30pm) a half-day of hosted breakout discussions to discuss how modern businesses can grow using new technologies and models, followed by a drinks and networking reception.
  • Founders Live Cambridge at Mills & Reeve (25 April at 5:30pm) a fun-filled evening of networking for business enthusiasts. Five business owners are invited to pitch their ideas in 99 seconds and be judged by a panel of experts and peers.
  • Beginning your AI journey to Excellence at ARU Cambridge Campus (25 April at 11am) the organisers promise a day of “insightful talks, hands-on workshops, and networking opportunities” for entrepreneurs looking to start an AI business.
  • As you’d imagine in a city known for its academic prowess, there are lots of free lectures and talks available for business boffins to explore on the University of Cambridge event website

Free business events in Oxford

  • Oxford Social Venture Showcase at Said Business School (9 April at 1pm) an event for social enterprises started at the University of Oxford, socially-conscious entrepreneurs can also attend to meet investors and chat to experts.
  • Startup Huddle at Oxford Business & IP Centre (18 April at 6pm) acting as a launchpad for your ideas, founders present their venture to a supportive local network for valuable Q&A time with peers and Oxford business experts.
  • Sales Club at Oxford Eagle Lab Main Space (30 April at 11am) pitched as a networking and learning combo event, the Sales Club is aimed at helping sales professionals develop key skills and partnerships.
  • Similarly to Cambridge, entrepreneurs should also check out the University of Oxford’s free public lectures for business talks and lectures.

Free business events in Bristol


  • Meet the Funder at Engine Shed (16 April at 10am) is ideal for companies that are fundraising. Run in partnership with the British Business Bank, this live Q&A session is designed to match South West businesses with angel investors.
  • Setting Up For Success at 2 Trinity Road (25 April at 10am) the first in a series of building block sessions for early-stage entrepreneurs, this event covers everything from goal setting to testing, validating, and pitching.
  • SETsquared Bristol at Engine Shed (18 April at 11:30am) is an opportunity to learn from experienced startup founders about how they got to where they are. Includes a panel discussion and Q&A.

Free business events in Cardiff

Join over 800 local businesses at The Cardiff Expo on 11 April at All Nations Centre to interact with more than 80 exhibitors showcasing their products and services, speed networking sessions, and ten free seminars.

The one-day event is billed as the longest-running and largest business exhibition in Cardiff, offering a wealth of opportunities for local SMEs to connect, learn, and grow, and will also feature keynote speeches from inspirational entrepreneurs. The event starts at 10am.

Other free Cardiff business events in April include:

  • Startup Workshop (Food and Drink) at Cardiff Metropolitan University (9 April at 1:30pm) is a new workshop designed to give aspiring food and drink manufacturers in Wales the knowledge and resources to launch their businesses.
  • The Marketing Meetup IRL at 3 Sovereign Quay (24 April at 6pm) is an informal gathering designed to foster connection and learning among marketing professionals in the city. Attendees are asked to provide a voluntary donation to secure their spot.

Free business events in Edinburgh

Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh

  • CodeBase Edinburgh’s Presentation Club (24 April at 12:30pm) an afternoon of public speaking practice designed specifically for tech startups. Organised by tech incubator CodeBase, each session offers two five-minute slots to participants who can then present on any topic they choose.
  • The Collaboration Club at Hotel Indigo (24 April at 8pm) is a friendly, low-stakes networking event designed to connect and empower women business owners in a relaxed social setting.
  • Business Breakfast at The Edinburgh Remakery (25 April at 9am) whatever your level of experience, the Remakery’s business breakfasts aim to help business owners forge new connections, explore potential collaborations, and unearth exciting partnership opportunities over coffee and pastries.

Free business events in Glasgow


  • 8 Networking Coffee Morning APR at The Alchemist (10 April at 9:30am) a free event for first-time visitors, testimonials highlight the group’s friendly nature and focus on building long-term relationships.
  • Business Coffee Morning at The Mitchell Library (19 April at 10am) is a monthly networking event run by the Business and IP Centre in Glasgow that connects local business owners over breakfast rolls and tea.
  • People, Planet, Pastry at Collabor8te (26 April at 10am) is another tasty social event catering specifically to business owners who are taking action on sustainability.
  • Start Up for the Self Employed at The Mitchell Library (18 April at 2pm) Hosted by chartered accountancy firm, Parris & McNally, the half-day workshop is targeting aspiring freelancers and independent contractors to help them take that first plunge into starting their own business.
Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

Leave a comment

Leave a reply

We value your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. Please review our commenting policy.

Back to Top