Photo: Fleet Events
W3+ Fair

The Place to Be

Next March, the W3+ Fair in Wetzlar will celebrate its tenth anniversary. Tanja Knott and Jörg Brück from the trade fairs organizers Fleet Events have been involved from the beginning. We talked with them about the anniversary (but didn’t clink glasses yet).

The W3+ Fair in Wetzlar premiered on February 19th and 20th. By now, it has become a fixed date in the calenders of exhibitors and visitors. Those who want to keep up to date have to go there. And that does not only hold true in Wetzlar.

W3+: Mr Brück, would you please describe the W3+ Fair to a newcomer in a few words.

Jörg Brück: Learning about what’s going on in the high-tech sector – getting inspiration for all business areas, simply networking – and having a good time. All of that without any great effort within just two days. The intention is that all participants take new ideas and contacts back home with them at the end – as basis for improved working and future business. That’s the W3+ Fair.

W3+: Strictly speaking, the Network Fair had been designed for the local companies from optics, photonics, electronics, and mechanics, hadn’t it?

Jörg Brück: That is exactly what we started out for – on initiative of the Wetzlar Network – ten years ago. The optical technologies are our DNA. But today, we are much more. We provide enterprises from the region with a place for presentation – and bring new enterprises from all over Germany and from abroad to Wetzlar. This strengthens both the local companies and the location Wetzlar and Central Hesse far beyond the boundaries of the federal state.

Tanja Knott: We have also expanded our topical fields: Many partners dock on to the fair with their own events utilizing the top-class high-tech setting. Vice versa, our exhibitors and visitors benefit from a broader range of subjects on display. Over the years, we have thus had such relevant topics as Industry 4.0, 3D-printing, digitization, recruiting, and many more at the fair. These are cross-cutting topics which have a direct effect in all business areas. With that, we annually turn the W3+ Fair into a cross-disciplinary initiator for entrepreneurs and employees who want to bring themselves up-to-date.

W3+: What do exhibitors and visitors set store on in the fair?

Jörg Brück: They are gaining information, discovering novelties, getting into conversations. We also make it really easy for exhibitors, for example with our all-in-one stand design package: high-level presentation – barely any effort. As a result, we have attracted many small and medium-sized companies, some of which had never before presented themselves at a fair. The stand design concept has proven itself and is still appreciated very much by the exhibitors.

Tanja Knott: The “easiness” goes for visitors as well. No endless traffic jams on arrival, no expensive hotel costs, no long distances: simply go in, do some networking, and in the evening, take new business cards back home. Everybody is welcome: managing directors as well as developers or production workers. The private atmosphere at the fair is conducive to getting into conversations about any kind of business-related topics in an uncomplicated manner.

W3+: How do you make good on the promise to be a “network fair”?

Jörg Brück: Almost everything that we get off the ground contributes to cooperation and communication: Our very open stand construction concept is the basis for uncomplicated networking. Many companies even share one booth. In the beginning, this was difficult to convey – today, the fair gets a lot of praise for it. We have some exclusive network formats for exhibitors, such as our after-work beer, the network aperitif party, and our absolutely essential evening event W3+ Fair and friends. People are still talking about the legendary exhibitors’ evening under palm trees on the shores of Lake Dutenhofen.

Tanja Knott: For visitors, we create many opportunities for socializing and chatting through themed accompanying events including our free of charge conference en-tech.talks. One novelty is the App which we put to use at the launch event in Jena for the first time. It also allows people to specifically search for contacts.

W3+: The W3+ Fair has been growing continuously. Although the external conditions have not always been easy.

Tanja Knott: That’s right. The Covid-19 years were certainly a very difficult time for all fair organizers – us included. But it turned out that direct conversation and meeting with others in person is absolutely instrumental in networking. That’s something that cannot be replaced by online formats. The companies very quickly realized how important it is to be present, to refresh existing contacts, and to establish new ones. If this is working well, word will spread. That is still the best promotion.

Jörg Brück: In addition to that, we have always had strong partners by our side. Apart from Wetzlar Network, it was Hessen Trade & Invest who have strongly supported the fair. On an international level, we could garner the support of the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) among others. All partners are a great gain for the W3+ Fair as competence bearers and multiplicators.

W3+: From Wetzlar, the W3+ Fair has reached out to other technology regions, such as the W3+ Fair Rhine Valley in Dornbirn. This fall, the fair will take place in Jena for the first time. What do you expect from that?

Tanja Knott: With the W3+ Fair, we created a successful brand which has the potential to receive a lot of attention in other high-tech locations as well. This has proved true in an impressive manner for Jena, the second big optics location in Germany. After only three months, the fair was pretty much sold out. Such an outcome was only possible because the good reputation of the W3+ Fair has been widely noticed by now.

Jörg Brück: At site, we are collaborating with OptoNet Jena – which is, just like the Wetzlar Network, also a part of OptecNet Deutschland. We are looking forward to the premiere and invite everybody interested from the Wetzlar region and from Central Hesse to join us.

W3+: On March 13th and 14th, 2024, the fair in Wetzlar celebrates its 10th anniversary. Where is the journey going?

Tanja Knott: We are very glad that we are able to celebrate this anniversary. A big thanks to all companions on the road who made this possible and helped us with their open feedback to make the fair flourish. We take the 10th anniversary as an opportunity to refine the concept. We want to expand the fair developing it into a modern marketplace where everything is traded: cutting-edge technologies, up-to-the-minute knowhow, new talents, and top contacts. The perfect mixture from which innovations and new business models may arise. That way, enterprises will be able to successfully subsist in the market.

Jörg Brück: We are already doing many of those things – but of course, there is always room for improvement. We are working on new formats and concepts. We want people to enjoy our fair and be inspired when they return home. For the years to come, the key message of our network fair will still be: No matter what direction the technological development of the world is taking – the W3+ Fair will remain “the place to be” that helps companies to keep the ball rolling.


W3+ Fair Wetzlar 2024

Buderus Arena Wetzlar
13. + 14.03.2024