The online electricals store, AO, hosted 14 businesses from across Europe yesterday at its headquarters in Bolton to showcase how it’s using digital technology to innovate the online shopping experience for its customers.

The event organised in conjunction with the Department for International Trade aimed to highlight the growing digital and technology business community in the North West and to show why the area is a great place for international businesses to invest and scale.

Matt Mawdesley, Strategic Innovation Lead at

“Innovation is at the heart of our culture, and our event was a great example of how we are relentlessly looking for new and interesting ways to excite our customers. This formed one piece of a much broader group innovation strategy within AO, and we hope to continually push the boundaries of retail to stay ahead in such a rapidly changing environment.”

AO was selected to take part due to it being one of the key business’ in the region driving growth through job creation, infrastructure expansion and digital investment.

The businesses, ranging from AI driven chatbots to data analytics firms, spent the day at AO and took part in a knowledge sharing session with key members of the AO team discussing how its championing digital innovation across the group. They were then invited to present their business ideas to senior members of the AO team in a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch, where they were asked to highlight how they’re revolutionising and leading innovation in their own sectors.

David Lawson, MD at, commented:

“We’re really proud to have been asked to be involved in such an exciting event today and it was great to meet some of the pioneering businesses looking at potentially making the North West their new home. The day provided some invaluable insights into some of the exciting opportunities ahead and we hope that sharing AO’s story has inspired some of our visitors even further.”