Networking groups

Here’s my list of business networking groups in Brighton, Hove and Sussex.

I regularly recommend networking as a great marketing tool, to my business advice clients.  It can be amazingly effective if you go about it in the right way.

These are some of the business networking groups in Brighton, Hove and Sussex

Each group has my quick review, with some thoughts and advice about each to help you decide which is the right group for you.

As well as checking out this list, do keep in touch for regular updates on the best upcoming events, business issues and all sorts of juicy Brighton business gossip. And you get some business tips and advice thrown in as well.

And of course, if you’re thinking about moving your business up a gear, you probably want some business advice, support and mentoring, which is what I do.

If you find this list of business networking groups in Brighton and Sussex useful, could you do me a favour? If you could tell other people about it, by tweeting about it, putting a link on your website, or just telling your new networking friends about it, that would be great.

Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce

Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce offers great networking opportunities. You’ll meet people from a wide range of companies across Brighton, and the Chamber has more members than any other business organisation in the city. I’ve got a vested interest here because I used to be the President of the Chamber, but I’ve been involved for so long simply because I think this is one of the most lively and interesting networking organisations in the city, despite sounding as if it’s full of dull old codgers. It’s not.

Quite simply, it’s the one to be at. There’s a membership fee, but don’t let that put you off, as you only need to get a couple of new clients, or some good advice in order to make it worth your while to pay £15 + VAT per month.

Check out one of the meetings (you can come along as a non-member to try it out) and see what you think. There’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, supper, and after work learning…so there’s something for everyone. Keep up to date with Brighton Chamber events and gossip with twitter

Definitely recommended as the biggest of the business networking groups in Brighton.

Platf9rm

Pronounced more conventionally as Platform 9, this isn’t a business networking group in Brighton, but a co-working space, which runs a lot of networking events in Brighton. And you can go along, even if you don’t use their co-working space, which is good as they have some pretty interesting events. And of course, you can do some networking while you’re there. Here’s their events page.

I can regularly be found at some of these events, as I’m based at Platform 9 in Hove Town Hall.

Brighton – Girl Tribe Gang

Girl Tribe Brand is for women predominantly who have set up on their own, striving to or are spinning a side hustle. See the link below. They meet up once a month above the Joker pub and have a speaker each time. You can go as a guest to check it out and see if it’s for you, here’s their site…

Gaydio business networking events in Brighton

This is new. Run by Gaydio radio, this is cocktails at Malmaison in Brighton Marina for LGBTQ business people. Here’s how to find out about the latest events…

9% networking

Business networking for entrepreneurial women, named after the 9% pay gap between women and men. The events have some structured networking, so you have to go and talk to people and then some great speakers. Here’s how to find out what’s happening next…

Athena Network

Women-only business networking group in Brighton, with a paid-for annual membership.  There are monthly lunches, usually at the Metropole Hotel.  This business networking group is probably more for people with smaller businesses who want a supportive environment and a regular small group.  You can sign up here

The Sustainable Business Network

The Sustainable Business Network (Part of the Sustainable Business Partnership) links like-minded businesses interested in improving their environmental and social sustainability. Networking events, which include Sustainable Business Breakfasts featuring expert speakers and local case studies, are held across the whole of Sussex. Details of upcoming events can be found here.

Business Breakfast 9

And then we go a little more traditional… a business networking event with golf! This is for Sussex folk, or Brighton golfing business people who want to pop over for Ditchling for business networking, breakfast and I’m guessing 9 holes of golf. Business networking and golf…

Network Albion

As you might guess, this is for people who like football. Alas, not me then. But if you’re into football, you can join this Brighton and Hove Albion networking group as one of the longest standing business networking groups in Brighton.

I understand you don’t have to be a football diehard, or even support the Seagulls (see, I know what they’re called) to join, just be up in time for a monthly networking breakfast. There’s an annual fee, which has just gone up to (I believe) £480.

Thrive Meetup

Another female only business networking group, this time with more of a learning/workshop slant to it. There’s a 30 minute talk on something useful to apply to your business, and then 90 minutes of working in small groups to support one another. £5 to go along, so very reasonable, and good reviews from at least one of my clients. Here’s how to book into the next event. 

Open Coffee Sussex

For people growing technology businesses in Sussex, an informal meet up at 8 am over coffee in Brighton’s Grow Coffee. That’s why it’s called Open Coffee. Every 2nd Thursday of the month.

Run by the lovely Simon Kimber from Create and Jon Markwell, who’s lovely too. Free to attend, except that you need to buy a cup of coffee. Open Coffee on Twitter.

Highly recommended for tech and business networking in Brighton

Film Professional Networking

Film Professional Networking is a monthly meet-up of film professionals in Brighton. It is open to all film workers who are in any aspect of the industry; writers, producers, directors, actors, film crew, make-up, editors, visual FX artists, art directors, digital designers, and social media experts …everyone’s welcome.

She Says Brighton

She Says is for women working in the digital, media and creative industries in Brighton/Sussex. It’s organised by Rifa Thorpe-Tracey with a twitter feed here, so you’ll never miss out on what’s going on. They have some great speakers, with lots of interesting ideas.

Boundary Club – Sussex Cricket

Another business networking group in Brighton organised around a sport, this time, Sussex County Cricket Club brings together fans of cricket for some business networking and a very, very nice lunch.  This one is more pricey, but your £1095 + VAT membership does get you a couple of season tickets.

I’m told that you pretty much have to be into cricket to get the most out of this one, and this one has more traditional businesses and men in blue suits, but for many people, this is a great excuse to do some business while enjoying the games.

Business Magnets

Monthly meetings for people in mid Sussex around Crawley who want to get out and network over breakfast. Get along and check it out. £50 annual fee to join if you’re going to a regular, or if you only want to dip in and out, you can just book in advance and pay a little extra for your breakfast.

Business Curry Club

You’ll find hundreds of people, buckets of curry and lots of full on networking. A good price at £15 including your meal. Opinions are divided in the city about the Brighton Business Curry Club. Some people absolutely love it because you get to meet over a hundred people, and there’s a very sociable atmosphere (with curry and beer.) Other people really don’t like it because they find it a little full on and frenetic.

So my advice is to go along and check it out, to see if it’s for you.  You might hate it, or you might never want to miss a meeting.

 4Networking at Devils Dyke

Part of the national 4Networking chain, so if you join this, you can go along to any of the groups across the UK, including the ones in Shoreham and Eastbourne. The fee is £200, with a ticket price for breakfast of £15 a go.

First Friday Lewes

First Friday networking in Lewes is an open group that meets on the first Friday of the month (funny coincidence there) at the Premier Inn in Lewes.

It’s free to come along, and there’s getting to be a good crowd of people. You don’t need to book in advance, just turn up on the day.  First Friday Lewes is more geared towards smaller and single person businesses, so if you’re looking to network with slightly bigger businesses, you’d be better off with the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce.  Or do both!

Third Friday Brighton

Just to be different, and so that you don’t have to run around Sussex to go to all the First Friday events, this one is every third Friday of the month at Pitcher and Piano. Third Friday Brighton is run by Susan Beckingham and Richard Russell, who also run First Friday Lewes (see above).

 

Internations

Internations is more about networking for professionals than a business networking group, so there are lots of people with “proper jobs” rather than business owners. They run a very active group in Brighton, who meet for drinks once a month, and a bigger group in London.

Internations is for people who have come from overseas to the UK, and there’s an incredible mix of all sorts of different people there. I’ve included it in my list of networking groups here because I know that this is a target market for some people, and of course, some of you guys will be internationals as well.  Thanks to Nick Price for suggesting it and inviting me along to try it out.

Brighton BNI

BNI works really well for some people and not so well for others. If you can easily describe the nature of your business to others, are happy to generate lots of referrals for other people in the group, and like getting up early, the BNI could be for you.

If you want to sell to consumers, or to other small businesses, then BNI is a good bet. However, if you need to network with larger companies, or sell something a little bit strange or technical, then BNI may not be such a good investment. I’d advise going along to a meeting – BNI is a bit of a Marmite business networking group, you either love it or you hate it!

Gatwick Diamond Business

Gatwick Diamond Business is for businesses based in the Gatwick Diamond and has a good mixture of businesses, including some bigger and more established businesses.

This business networking group is a little more pricey, with an annual fee of upwards of £420, but if it’s the right place for you, this is money well spent. Some people think that it’s a bit more serious than some of the other groups and want to network across Sussex, other people report that it’s full of consultants trying (and failing) to sell stuff to bigger businesses.  Again, go along and see if it suits you.

Federation of Small Businesses

FSB has a lot of members and offers some good benefits when you join, including some money saving offers on banking and insurance. They don’ t have a lot of actual business networking events in Brighton and Hove, as they’re more focused on lobbying on behalf of businesses nationally. Do check them out for the money they could save you though…

Brighton Farm

For freelancers, an informal meet up in a pub. People have given me good reports of this weekly event, which has a very helpful and friendly vibe. Brighton Farm isn’t so much a business networking group as a regular meet up for digital freelancers. If that’s you, it’s a great place to meet others to talk about work, swap ideas, find other people to do joint projects with…all kinds of fun.

Damsels in Success

This is no longer running as a business networking group in Brighton, but the Croydon group is going strong.  This isn’t a traditional networking organisation, it’s much more about supporting entrepreneurial women and developing a community.  There are monthly meetings with different topics, some practical, some spiritual and some emotional) and they often have guest speakers.  I haven’t been, so let me know if you have – maybe you could write a guest blog review for me?

Institute of Directors

The IoD has networking events all over Sussex, although not so many in Brighton. It’s not for everyone, as some people find it a bit too male-dominated and (possibly) right wing. Some people have said that they expected the IoD to have a lot bigger businesses, and were therefore disappointed when they found that most people who go are from small and medium-sized businesses.

As with all these business networking groups, what’s important is that you find an arena where you feel comfortable and that you can forge good relationships with people that you respect.

Wired Sussex

Wired Sussex has a calendar of events in Brighton and Hove, mostly of events for digital businesses, plus they have some meet up events for Wired Sussex members, and some interesting one-off events. Wired Sussex is very active in all areas of the digital business sector, running some very interesting events, and lobbying for their members.

They also have a very active projects board, where businesses can post details of techie projects they want people to do, and this can be very handy for finding new work.

Mumpreneurs

I could give you lots of arguments about the name of this group (why can’t women just be entrepreneurs, are you defined by being a mother) but I won’t. I’ll just tell you about Mumpreneurs, which is a friendly, informal group, meeting in cafes in different locations in Sussex. Peer support at its best.

Copyright of this list of business networking groups in Brighton

Some naughty people have been taking this list, which I’ve lovingly put together, and passing it off as their own, in order to promote their own networking groups. You know who you are.

Please note that this list of networking groups, like everything else on the Joy of Business website, is copyright to Julia Chanteray and the Joy of Business, so please don’t lift my content.

If you would like to link to this list or any of the other content here, I’d love you to do that. Just make sure that you put a link to the page, and credit me. Then we’re all happy.

My tips on networking

If you found this list useful and you are thinking of attending a networking event, then you may find these articles about networking useful also.

How to keep the conversation flowing at a networking event

Connectors – The most important people you can meet whilst you’re networking

The Joy of Business system for business networking

What to expect when you go networking

What not to do at networking events

In-depth, targeted networking for your business

How to get the most out of a networking cake date

Defunct business networking groups in Brighton you may have heard of

  • South Coast Design Forum doesn’t seem to be holding any meetings at the moment, but in Brighton and Hove has been replaced by Design Brighton
  • Open Data in Brighton and Hove has come and gone
  • Deans Business Club has turned into Business Days Out
  • BrightFace networking appears to be no more
  • BeScene is gone, despite the rather good pun in the name
  • Geek Wine thing is not happening any more
  • Women in Media seems to have died away, which is sad.
  • Damsels in Success, despite such a great name, seems to be not operating in Brighton any more.
  • Note that the Brighton and Hove Enterprise Agency has now merged with the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, who are continuing their series of networking events for small businesses.
  • I used to run Bagel Networking, and I know that some people still look for this. It was fun while it lasted, but is no more.
  • Vine Brighton has withered away
  • Sussex Hub at Tradewaves is no more, which is a shame
  • Our Ethical Network is now just a LinkedIn group

 

Updates to the list of business networking groups in Brighton

If you notice anything incorrect about this list or know of a group (it must be a business networking group in Brighton or Sussex, not a photography meet up or something not to do with business networking) please let me know and I’ll update the list.

Keep up to date with the best events

I regularly tweet about the business networking events I’m going to, and the ones I recommend, so you might want to follow me on Twitter to keep informed about upcoming events.  And while we’re keeping in touch, I’d love to send you some of my tips, stories and ideas, so you might want to get my regular email updates as well.

Photo credit – Thanks to the team at Vervate, and Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce for this great photo of a Chamber breakfast

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Julia Chanteray