Networking group celebrates post-Covid milestone (LBV Magazine) July 2022

A Lancashire business networking group is celebrating after hitting 120 members, equalling its previous record from March 2020, the week before the government announced the first Covid-19 lockdown.

First launched in 2009 by organiser Karen Tems, The Business Network Central & East Lancashire is a membership organisation, bringing together business leaders and decision-makers in a structured lunch-based format that aims to help businesses connect and provide introductions for each other.

Each lunchtime event includes an optional morning seminar, delivered by specialists from within the group on a range of topics from business strategy, growth and succession planning to personal development and mental health in the workplace. 

Event organiser Karen Tems said: “When Covid hit in March 2020, you can imagine it was a major shock for an organisation based on face-to-face connection-building. But even more so for us, as we had just celebrated our biggest membership in the 11 years, up to then, since launch.

“During Covid we gave our members the option of leaving or continuing with meetings online. While we lost a few members in the early days, the online meetings actually turned out to be a roaring success. Many of our members have told me since how it actually felt like an absolute lifeline that really helped keep them going through the pandemic, which is something I’m actually very proud of.

“But after all lockdown restrictions were lifted, we finally relaunched our full-size face-to-face meetings, though admittedly at first at a slightly smaller scale than before the pandemic.

“Numbers have been growing gradually, though, and this week we celebrated hitting 120, which was our previous record before the lockdowns, which is a fabulous feeling.

“The Business Network format is useful in developing new business opportunities, whether from sourcing new potential customers, buying more effectively, or tapping into the wealth of experience and knowledge that exists within the group.

“Our aim is simple and that is to introduce senior decision-makers in an environment that makes it easy to build business relationships to expand client and supplier connections, gather and exchange knowledge.”

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