Meeting truly fascinating people is one of the massive bonuses of serial networking. The city of Brighton and Hove is bursting at the seams with inspirational entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs all pushing hard to achieve great things.
Here are just some of the lovely inidivduals and initiatives that I've had the good fortune to be associated with over the last month - all of whom deserve a shout-out as they are moving and shaking.
Creative Giants: One of the key producers of the infamous dystopian shanti town that is the Shangri-la field at Glastonbury Festival, Simon Vaughanlaunched his own art curation company in 2018. With a firm belief that art has the power to inspire, stimulate and promote dialogue - and on a mission to nurture art and support visual art practice - Simon connects contemporary artists with brands, events, product launches and exhibitions.
His little black book of contacts includes master fabricators and a mixture of well established and up and coming names from the world of art. Catch his artists' work at Saatchi Art's The Other Art Fair, The Big Issue's forthcoming fundraising exhibition at the V&A Museum of childhood this autumn, and of course in the den of subversive iniquity that is Shangri-La at Glastonbury 2019 - where you'll find me lurking for much of the festival.
Pala Eyewear: With a pair of spectacles widely recognised as the most effective economic tool you can give anyone, John Pritchard launched Pala Eyewear - his ethical sunglasses brand - in summer 2016 with a specific mission in mind. He pumps the money made from sales of his shades into eye care projects across Africa - and as a side project John runs a nifty plastic recycling project on the side.
To date, thousands of sight-impaired people have had their lives changed and their ability to earn an income enhanced thanks to receiving a pair of prescription glasses. Need some kick-ass new sunnies this summer ? Look no further, prices start at £75.
Brighton Startup: Kristina Pereckaite's new website launches on World Startup day: 21 August. The site will showcase interviews with founders of successful businesses that have launched from Brighton, and there's a surprising number of them. Having tried to encourage a number of international entrepreneurs to move to this splendid sea-side city, she was met with some resistance.
The solution: an online portal that celebrates how Brighton is a mecca for entrepreneurs, big thinkers and shrewd business operators - something her roll as Entrepreneur Development Manager for Brighton's NatWest Accelerator has taught her is very much the case.
Quickclass: Working with partners as diverse as Raindance Film School and Digiworkz Startup Accelerator and complete with its own pupil/teacher feedback loop, Stjohn Smith's app offers an off-the-peg, white-labelled and highly customisable solution for anyone wanting to teach beyond the confines of the classroom.
Educate or train anyone, anytime, anywhere via an app that you can brand as your own, with lessons and training delivered direct to mobile devices across the globe and in multiple languages. From employee onboarding to yoga teacher training - Quickclass is a viable, affordable mLearning solution.
Brighton Chamber: July 1 sees the former Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce re-booting its branding and website and focussing even harder on initiatives aimed at forging healthy business connections in this fine city.
18 months in the planning, and the new site is now imminent - with a great new feature: the 'Member Hour', an opportunity to get free, personal help or advice from another Brighton Chamber member. If you’re looking for help with anything from book-keeping to blogging, you will be able to browse the list of Member Hours and see if there’s someone offering the service you need. Member Hours can be arranged face-to-face, or over skype. Sounds like a plan.
Business Proposal Masterclass: A well presented and thorough business proposal is not rocket science - there's a formula. You are trying to help your potential client find it easy to sell you into their team or c-suite. As I'm happy to share my theory with Brighton businesses, I'm doing a free Business Proposal Masterclass for the Members of Brighton's most buzzy coworking space Platf9rm, Tower Point, on 18 July.
We'll be covering the formula and the theory that lies behind it. Attendees will leave with my template, which they can populate with their own information when they get their next business lead. For more info hit me up.
Award-winning creative director and journalist Tim Healey provides non-exec, on demand strategy and marketing expertise for SMEs, startups and entrepreneurs, helping businesses move forward by removing the blocks to success.
His career has seen him partnering up with Google Creative Labs, YouTube and dispatching communications for a slew of international brands, after a 25 year run as a globe-trotting DJ/music producer and label owner.