Eastbourne Networking Groups worth Attending

Networking groups bring with them opportunities that can further your success like opening doors to potential clients and/or employees, enhancing your knowledge via seminars, and allowing you to stay on top of current industry trends. You can also talk to experts who have been in your shoes and faced the same kind of challenges that you’re experiencing today.

Eastbourne Networking Groups

If you’re looking to rub elbows with your fellow SME owners and seek advice from the experts, you can take your pick from these Eastbourne groups:

1. Edeal First Friday Network

If you’re looking for a relaxed and informal gathering of businesses of all sizes, the Edeal First Friday Network is the one to attend. There is no need to book prior to every meeting nor would you need to register or pay for sign up fees.

The best part is, you can bring your own marketing material and Edeal will have them on display along with the others.

  • Time and Date: 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm, every first Friday of the month
  • Venue: The Cavendish Hotel, 38 Grand Parade, Eastbourne
  • Fee: Free to attend; food and drinks come with a cost

Get in touch with Sandra Walker at swalker@edeal.org.uk for more information. 

2. FSB East Sussex

Formed in 1974, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is a UK-wide organisation that represents the country’s SMEs. Currently, they have 184 branches in the country which are divided into 33 regions. Although they are a non-party political organisation, they actively lobby for the rights of small firms and self-employed individuals in the UK.

FSB members get access to an exclusive online membership area where you can get various documents that can help your business (e.g. legal templates). Among their benefits include a 24-hour legal advice line and free business banking.

  • Time, Date, and Venue: Contact FSB or refer to their Events page for all upcoming events
  • Fee: Depending on the event, some are free while some can go up to £15 each. Membership fees also vary.

FSB East Sussex is divided into three branches. For Kent & Medway, email sarah.lilly@fsb.org.uk or call them at 07976 434519; for Sussex and East Surrey branches, email alexandra.douglas@fsb.org.uk or call them at 07917 628924.

3. Ladies Lunch Clubs

Established in 2005 for women entrepreneurs and decision makers, the Ladies Lunch Clubs host informal lunches that require no fees for attending. The venue is carefully picked to create a welcoming atmosphere where everyone feels welcome to swap ideas and battle stories with other women.

  • Time and Date: 12 pm to 2 pm, every fourth Friday of each month
  • Venue: Grand Hotel, King Edwards Parade, Eastbourne
  • Fee: No membership fees; each event cost £26.50 per head inclusive of a two-course lunch

If you need more information, send them an email on info@ladieslunchclubs.co.uk.

4. Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce

The Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce holds multiple networking meetings throughout the month, with each event catering to a specific concern that UK business owners face (e.g. social media marketing, selling properties post-Brexit, etc.).

Each of the Chamber’s chapters represents businesses of all sizes, from self-employed individuals to multinational companies. Membership comes with a variety of benefits like business support, free events, promotions and communications, and political influence.

If you need more information, get in touch via email at info@eastbourneunltd.co.uk or call them at (+44) 1323 641144.

5. BNI Royal

BNI Royal is a global organisation that has multiple chapters in the UK. Given their members, you’ll get great networking opportunities, better business prospects, and access to an exclusive members-only resource where you can get tools and educational materials to boost your business.

This is a structured business networking group that encourages referrals among members. There are three chapters in Eastbourne, each with different meeting schedules.

Time:

  • The Royal BNI — 6:45 am, Fridays
  • 1st Eastbourne BNI — 6:30 am, Thursdays
  • Concord BNI — 10 am, Tuesdays

Venue:

  • The Royal BNI — The View Hotel, Grand Parade
  • 1st Eastbourne BNI — Lansdowne Hotel, King Edward's Parade
  • Concord BNI — Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club, 3 Harbour Quay

Fee:

Attend your local chapter to find out about their joining fees and membership costs. Note that visitors are only allowed to attend chapter meetings twice before needing to make a decision to join. Breakfast meetings cost £11.00 per head.

Get in touch with BNI via their contact page.

How To Get The Most Out Of Networking

  • Set goals — How many do you intend to get to know at each meeting? Also, take a look at the guests so you’ll know whom to approach beforehand.
  • Prepare — It’s easy to get tongue-tied in a sea of strangers, so come up with a list of possible conversation starters.
  • Talk to people — This may sound obvious, but a networking event is not the time to be a wallflower. Talk and mingle. Start with the people sitting next to you. You can always bring a friend or colleague, if going alone is intimidating at first.
  • Be helpful — This is a give-and-take dynamic; aim to help others by sharing what you know or referring them to people who can help them.
  • Follow-up After the event, connect on social media or send them a quick email. This way, you’ll stay top of mind in case they need your services/products down the line.

Grab the Opportunity

Your entrepreneurial journey does not have to be taken on your own. Networking groups bring with them opportunities that you may otherwise miss out on when you run your business without any help.

Join groups near you and just be yourself when attending events. The returns may not be immediate, but plenty of business owners have found rewarding opportunities after attending networking events.