Breakfast networking event set up for North Bristol

Chris Holloway, Lucy Hicks, Matt Richardson

Independent business group Bristol Breakfast Networking (BBN) has launched with its inaugural fortnightly meeting in the northern part of the city.

More than 35 local business owners visited the BBN North launch event, a breakfast meeting on Thursday May 17th at the Old Down Estate in Tockington, South Gloucestershire.

Set up 18 years ago for the benefit of small business owners in Bristol area, the original BBN group has enjoyed spectacular growth in membership over recent months and has reached capacity at its current home in Ashton Gate Stadium.

The new group is an exciting move for the small business community in the northern part of Bristol, especially for those looking to forge connections and receive quality referrals to new clients and customers.

The northern and southern BBN meetings are now arranged for fortnightly breakfasts on alternate Thursday mornings, with the group South Gloucestershire group having its next session on May 31st.

BBN was founded by Chris Holloway, owner of Manor Printing Services in Wotton-under-Edge, and management accountant David Johnson back in 2000.

Since then it has seen many millions of pounds in business passed between its members, including some £800,000 in the past 12 months alone. With a membership standing at 40 small business owners at the meetings, the turnover makes each seat at the breakfast meeting worth in excess of £20,000 in new business per year, with more being passed online.

The not-for-profit group, which has annual membership fees of just £120 per year, also raises significant funds for charity, donating £9,000 to local good causes last year.

Speaking at the meeting, Holloway said: “When I started the group with David all those years ago we were looking to offer something different from the normal breakfast networking meetings. We’ve made an effort to up the ante during the past three years and it’s really paid off, with growing membership and an improved online presence.

“Old Down Estate is the perfect location for our new group – it’s great to see so many businesses represented here and we’re looking forward to welcoming even more new members into the fold, so we can continue to grow the network and its reputation.”

BBN is currently chaired by Matt Richardson, owner of corporate gifts firm Recognition Express. He said: “The group’s had an unprecedented level of growth over the past two years and, with 40 members meeting regularly, it’s not practical to have any more in one room.

“Our model’s proving to be really attractive – we meet fortnightly rather than weekly, without much of the pressure and formality associated with some other networking organisations.

“We’ve had so many enquiries from prospective members and we felt the time was right to launch Bristol Breakfast Networking north of the city.”

For Old Down Estate, sales and events manager Lucy Hicks said she was excited about welcoming Bristol Breakfast Networking to the venue.

“We have a beautiful manor house at Old Down Estate, alongside a rustic barn and a cellar nightclub, as well as 66 acres of grounds with several beautiful spots to hold a marquee or team building.

“So we are really keen to make new links with the business community in Bristol and South Gloucestershire and this move by BBN is exactly the kind of relationship we were looking for.

“It’s an early start every other Thursday but both myself and our chefs are looking forward to provide the perfect setting for some quality business networking.”