More than 1,000 businesses attended a conference in Birmingham to find out about ways to improve their performance using IT.

The IT Solutions Showcase, held at Millennium Point, is the first event in a series organised by Business Link West Midlands to give practical advice to businesses on a range of issues.

The event featured more than 30 exhibitors from across the West Midlands including BT, Microsoft, iCentrum and UKita and organisations such as Staffordshire University to offer workshops and seminars on meeting IT needs and improving efficiency.

Every company which attended the free event, received a free consultation with an IT expert to assess their specific needs.

They were able to access information on the latest IT techniques and systems to help drive their businesses forward.

Alison White, BLWM chief executive, said: “The recession has shown the need for all businesses regardless of size, to improve their performance in the most cost-effective way and proficient use of IT can boost the efficiency of any firm.

“Every business uses IT differently so we brought together a mix of IT companies and business advisers to tailor the needs of all firms regardless of their IT capabilities.

“At Business Link we are committed to helping businesses show resilience in the face of tough market conditions and by equipping them with the ability to operate more effectively, we are providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to launch new companies as well as helping established firms expand.

“We have become much more integrated and sophisticated – a one stop shop for clients and part of that is the provision of specialist service in different areas including IT, innovation and environment.

“When doing some analysis during planning for the launch of the new service, we found that the West Midlands had low rates of IT adoption. There are many businesses that don’t make use of processes to trade online.

“A lot of the businesses were very interested in the prospect of trading online and the seminars on this subject were particularly well attended. Lots of businesses want to develop their marketing to be able to access more customers through the internet.”

Joseph Hartog, of Warwick-based computer-aided design company Solid Solutions Management, which was exhibiting at the event, said the showcase had been very useful.

“We have had a lot of enquires from firms eager to find out more about CAD and how it can help improve the efficiency of their business,” he said.