The Diary of a Secret Serial Networker 1.2

Despite attending Little People, Glastonbury and Mistress Mary festivals, and fending off the constant lure of the ocean as the sun beams down upon us... there's been no slowing down in the world of serial networking. Over the last month, I've had the pleasure of meeting this brace of creative cats, all based in Brighton and Hove, and all of whom deserve a right royal 'big up'.

This month: Bug BarMy Green Pod, The Glastonbury Rainbow, Brighton Music OfficeInvestHerUK and Brighton Startup.

Justin Rushmore came up with the idea of the Bug bar in 2012 - repurposing a VW unit as a DJ booth and bar serving local draft craft beers. He now runs a fleet of four colourful vans that bring the party to mini festivals, weddings and events. Kitted out with a state of the art sound system, mirror balls, lasers and hydraulic lifting roof, even FatBoy Slim has been known to dispense beats from Justin's DISCOBUG.  

In the heady days of the 00's, Justin's hugely successful Finger Lickin' records was home to breakbeat legends the Plump DJs, Krafty Kuts and A Skillz. One half of production outfit Soul of Man, Justin toured the globe as a DJ, while simultaneously running his record store, Vinyl Addiction, in Camden, London.

His passion for VW campers ultimately collided with his life experience and the Bugbar was born. Justin now offers a range of services from DJ booth hire, silent disco parties, mini-festivals to party packages for weddings, private and public events or product launches. Always a music tastemaker, you can catch Justin’s Eclectic Selection radio show on 1BTN (101.4FM/DAB) 10am - midday on Thursdays.

Jarvis Smith and his partner Katie Hill run My Green Pod a magazine that champions greener alternatives for everyday, sharing the real stories behind the brands and people working tirelessly to offer ethical alternatives to mainstream products and services.

Many of the featured companies may be new to readers, as they’re often firms that can’t afford mass advertising or the cut-rate bulk deals that would secure them supermarket shelf space. Jarvis and Katie believe that presenting their readers with all the available options allows them to make a more informed choice about what to use.

On top of that, MGP's competitions give you the chance to try out their featured products and experiment without spending a penny. What not to like? Their magazine is distributed by The Guardian but you can check it out on line.

Lady Luck graced us with fair weather this year at Glastonbury. The Rainbow sculpture (pictured), commissioned by Emily Eavis for her revamped Park area of the festival, was designed by Paul Insect and built by Brighton-based art curators Creative Giants.

To our delight, Paul's Rainbow featured in a slew of broadsheets (this image is from The Daily Telegraph), music press publications and online zines as part of their festival reportage. The Rainbow appeared to capture the unavoidable laid-back vibe that typifies the world's biggest performing arts festival. 

Congrats to Simon Vaughan and his team for nailing such a universally smile-inducing art installation. Tying up the legals and licensing with Glastonbury Festival was the tiny part I played in the proceedings surrounding the rainbow, but after this stunningly engaging artwork, 2019/20 is looking great for the Creative Giants crew.

Brighton Music Office's Matt Clark is on a mission. With city council support, he's aiming to brand Brighton as a globally-recognised ‘music city’. By conducting research into how Brighton’s music industry works, they will build a music strategy for the city, with a preliminary focus on mapping Brighton’s music industry in its entirety and creating a database of local musicians and music businesses. 

BMO hopes to calculate the most imperative needs of the local music industry and then provide a selection of appropriate resources and events, to allow local professionals and musicians alike to network, thrive and make greater contributions towards Brighton’s musical economy.

You might think Brighton is already pretty music-centric, but a platform and regular meet ups might be just what Brighton's creative noiseniks and venues that support live music need. 

With a passion and commitment to diversity and equality, Karen Stenning has launched several initiatives that tackle and confront injustice with an agenda of creating a fairer world. In 2015, Karen set up Absolute Alchemy, bringing together communities and impact organisations to create change and take positive social action on societal and environmental issues.    

In 2017, she joined the Hatch team as Manager of the Female Founders Accelerator programme, assisting women entrepreneurs to build on their existing businesses and develop a community of female leaders. While working with female entrepreneurs, she saw a need for more female investors in the investment marketplace. Her underlying belief is that if more women had the confidence, the skills and the know-how to invest in early stage businesses, then they will hopefully back more female-led businesses. 

With that in mind, she set-up investHER with Marla Shapiro in 2018. Together the duo are growing and building a predominately female investment community supported by a series of professional networking events. Their aim is to address and provide solutions to the current male investment bias by 2020. 

Kristina Pereckaite and I launch Brighton Startup on 21 August 2019. We have support from all kinds of quarters for our portal that showcases the fresh and inspirational business thinking from Brighton and Hove.

Initially, we'll be presenting interviews with owner/founders of some of Brighton's biggest and most successful firms, and we aim to promote successful startups and also interview serial investors to find out what makes them tick and what they look for when choosing who to back with funds. 

So far, being involved in the set up of what appears to be such a necessary website linking Brighton business success stories, startups and investors is a total pleasure as there's a wealth of support for a website with our agenda. If you’d like to learn more, get involved or partner up, please drop us a line

That's edition 2 of the diary all wrapped up. My next Business Proposal Masterclass is at the NatWest Accelerator, Brighton, on 6 Aug 2019 at 11am. We'll be covering what makes a great proposal, how to position yourself as 'learned advisor' when you meet future clients and how to follow up when you've not heard from a business lead for a few weeks. 

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