There is no doubt that networking is a valuable marketing tool for most SME businesses.
Attending business networking events in East Sussex can be a route to winning new business, but it also helps you to develop meaningful relationships with suppliers and referral sources. Importantly, it also provides you with friendship and support. It’s always good to be able to share ideas and issues and get feedback from other business owners.
Scroll down to see the list of business networking events in East Sussex (and some in West Sussex.) The first few names in this network list relate to organisations with multiple groups across East and West Sussex The rest of the list is broken down by individual business networking groups by town in alphabetical order.
- Some networks in this list are pay-as-you-go, others require an annual subscription and some may have a lock-out (one business per category)
- Some meet for breakfast, others for lunch and some in the evening – some groups have options for all three!
- One or two networks are specific to an industry sector
- Many networks also have social media groups (on Facebook, Linkedin etc.) that you can interact with – even if you do not go to the face-to-face meetings
- You can usually go along as a guest a couple of times to decide if a network suits your business (and some are just pay as you go anyway). You may be interested to read another blog about How to be an effective networker, as well as others with some Tips and Ideas for Your 1 Minute Networking Presentation, Networking – Is it really worth it? and our series of interviews with local businesses about how networking works for them. We have also reviewed a good number of networking events too – see our list of networking blogs.
- There are also business networking groups that only exist on social media – but that’s a whole separate list! We talk about a number of these groups and how to use them in our social media training sessions.
This list may not be not exhaustive (since things change so quickly), but it is pretty large so should give you a good list of options! If you know of more networks (or any that have now stopped running) please do comment below and/or email email@example.com and we will add them. Thank you!
You are welcome to share this post and link to it from your website or blog. Given the work put into creating and maintaining this this list of business networking groups in East Sussex (and some in Brighton and West Sussex), we would be grateful if you would not just copy and paste the content and use it elsewhere. Thank you, much appreciated!
Photo from Bexhill Chamber’s Revolving Assaggi Dinner Event 2013 www.thestudiobexhill.co.uk
It is really important not to forget your marketing measurement. Make sure you note where all your business leads come from so that you can judge if networking is working and which groups are the most productive for you (read this blog Networking – Is it really worth it?).
Don’t forget to volunteer to be a speaker at networking groups to raise your profile quickly. This really worked for us. Make sure you have a good angle for your presentation so that it is attractive to the event organiser.
Please don’t forget to like our Facebook page and connect with us on other social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram) for more marketing and social media tips. You can always subscribe to the Pearce Marketing newsletter too. This will include links to key blogs so you don’t miss out.
NETWORKS OPERATING IN MANY TOWNS:
There are many 4 Networking groups around the country – times of day vary, meet fortnightly. See a full list here http://www.4networking.biz/Events/Map. Some of the most local ones are Eastbourne, Hastings, Shoreham, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Tunbridge Wells.
Basepoint Networking Hub
Some Basepoint Business Centres host Networking Hub events – two local ones are in Newhaven and Crawley.
Check out other Basepoint locations in the South here http://www.basepoint.co.uk/locations
Bizzybirds (Women only)
Monthly meetings around East Sussex usually 10 am – 12noon. Locations are Hastings, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Battle and Seaford. – http://www.bizzybirds.co.uk/
List of Sussex BNI chapters – weekly – typically breakfast, but some now meet at lunchtime http://bnisussex.co.uk/en-GB/index
Note: some towns have more than one Chapter – eg Eastbourne has Eastbourne BNI and The Royal BNI.
BoB (Business over Breakfast)
These clubs exist all around the country – meet fortnightly. The only active club in East Sussex at this point (December 2017) is in Battle http://www.bobclubs.
Chambers of Commerce
Each chamber will offer its own mix of networking events as part of your membership.
Fabulous Women & Marvellous Men
Groups operate in a number of counties in the South. In Sussex, to date (November 2013), there are groups in Brighton, Hailsham and Crawley – see https://fabulous-women.co.uk/eventdetails as of June 2017, it seems these groups are not running. However, take a look and see if one has started again in Sussex. As of October 2018 there is still not a group in Sussex, however there are other groups if you can travel!
First Friday Network
(some now on other Friday’s in the month!)
Free entry, no lock-outs, lunchtime event at a local pub/hotel (typically).
There are three branches in the East Sussex region:
- 1066 Country
- Eastbourne, Lewes, Wealden
- Brighton & Hove
Breakfast meetings in St Leonards and Eastbourne, ladies lunch club (rotates between Eastbourne, Battle and Halland), women’s supper club (Brighton), morning and evening seminars and networking events (Polegate) and social evenings with restaurant meals (Hailsham).
Institute of Directors – Constantly updated with a variety of networking events in the south. Find out more at https://www.iod.com/events-community/regions/south/events
Ladies Lunch Clubs
These operate in several locations – find out more at http://www.ladieslunchclubs.co.uk
- Tunbridge Wells
- Brighton & Hove
Lady Golfer Club
Golf and networking events for members and non-members on various golf courses – Eastbourne, Uckfield, Haywards Heath, Brighton, Worthing and more promised. Find out more at http://www.ladygolferclub.co.uk
Ladies who Latte
This group runs in a number of locations and more may spring up at any time… http://www.ladieswholatte.com/ladies-who-latte-mapped-meetings.htm There are groups in Hailsham, Crowborough, Hastings and other places in East Sussex.
Unique speed networking format developed by Sussex Business Bureau. http://www.sussexbusinessbureau.co.uk/speed-networking/
October 2018 – currently no Speed Networking events are running locally to Eastbourne, but it is always worth checking back or emailing to see what events are running.
Sussex Business Clubs
There are two clubs – Brighton & Hove and Eastbourne & District. Open to the bosses of businesses with a turnover of £2m + with 10 staff +. http://www.sussexbusinessclubs.co.uk
Sustainable Business Network (Added to this blog in June 2014)
Part of the Sustainable Business Partnership – network linking like-minded environmentally comitted businesses to share ideas and build working relationships. The location of the networking events vary – Eastbourne, Brighton, Chichester etc. As well as networking time, each breakfast meeting focuses on a different topic, such as energy efficiency, waste minimisation, renewable energy, green marketing or environmental management systems. http://sustainablebusiness.org.uk/network/events/
The Athena Sussex Network (Women Only)
Monthly lunch meetings and additional networking/learning opportunities:
The Mumpreneurs Networking Club (Men and women and those without children are welcome!)
Groups are operating in lots of areas and growing all the time. The most local are:
- Arundel & Littlehampton
- Burgess Hill
- Eastbourne (New Location, added to this blog Jan 2016)
- Tunbridge Wells
Women in Rural Enterprise
Visit https://www.wireuk.org/networks/?county=East+Sussex – networks in many counties including East and West Sussex and Kent. East Sussex locations are Ashdown Forest, Hastings and Cooksbridge.
ADDITIONAL NETWORKS BY TOWN:
The list below does not include events by those groups already mentioned above, many of which are active in a number of these towns.
Business Cornerstones – fortnightly business breakfast for B2B businesses from across Sussex http://www.businesscornerstones.co.uk/
Ashdown Hurrey Women in Business Lunch Club – quarterly meeting https://www.ashdownhurrey.co.uk/index.php/community https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ashdown-hurrey-women-in-business-14622232116 (often meet in Bexhill)
Bexhill Curry Club – firstname.lastname@example.org – Organised by Katie S Cowley at Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors
Bexhill Lunch Club – organised by McPhersons Chartered Accountants, http://www.mcphersons.co.uk/the-mcphersons-bexhill-lunch-club/
Ladies who Latte http://www.ladieswholatte.com/ladies-who-latte-mapped-meetings.htm
Anglo French Business Group – for businesses with French and English interests. Organised by Caroline Cole from Savoir-Faire Accounting – http://www.sf-accounting.co.uk/
BED (Business Enhancement & Development Group) – B2B networking group, meeting every 2 weeks at Chalk Farm Hotel. Organised by Lawrence Culham 07793 032180, email@example.com or Stephen Elliott 07715 313334, firstname.lastname@example.org
Blue Monkey Network (For Artists) – In partnership with the Towner Gallery. Regular monthly networking events plus talks by members and visits to galleries. http://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/artist-opportunities/bluemonkeynet/ (Added to this blog Oct 2015)
Borough Means Business – monthly lunch – organised by Eastbourne Borough Football Club http://www.boroughmeansbusiness.com/
Eastbourne Curry Club – email@example.com Organised by Katie S Cowley at Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors and Chris Stevens at FRP Advisory
Eastbourne Professionals Club – First Thursday of the month, 5 – 8 pm at Cru wine bar. Informal networking – contact Adele Fields firstname.lastname@example.org and see more on the Facebook page. (Added to this blog April 2018)
Girls on the Green – Ladies Networking/Golf meetings. Fortnightly Wednesday evening meetings at Willingdon Golf Club, all abilities welcome. Contact Sarah Josling email@example.com (Updated April 2018)
Longman’s Lunch Club – B2B, professional services predominantly. Monthly meetings usually take place at the Thai Brasserie in the Enterprise Centre. Please note this network is by invitation or guest only. Here’s their Facebook page for more information – why not contact the organiser? (Added to this blog Sept 2015)
The Federation of Holistic Therapists – meet on the first Monday of the month of March, April, June, July, Sept & Nov. Gain your CPD points. Contact: Pam Hardy on 01323 644007 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Added to this blog in Dec 2013)
Network Vines – A fresh and approachable networking group for all sized local businesses in and around Eastbourne. Held on the last Wednesday of every month – contact Chloe for more information email@example.com www.facebook.com/nvnetworking (Added to this blog Aug 2018)
Business Builder Forum for Entrepreneurs – Monthly ‘development’ event for business leaders who are keen to grow their operations. To find out more, please contact Pippa Prichard – firstname.lastname@example.org (Added to this blog Oct 2018)
Hailsham and Lower Dicker
Ladies who Latte Hailsham – second Tuesday of every month, 10 am – 12 noon. £3 per meeting. Contact email@example.com and go to https://hailshamlwl.eventbrite.co.uk to book. (Added to this blog in July 2016)
Professional Networking – Fortnightly networking at lunchtime – http://www.professionalnetworking.org.uk/
Hastings & St Leonards
PhotoHastings (For Photographers) – Members only networking group for photographers http://photohastings.org/(Updated January 2017)
Ladies who Latte – first Tuesday of each month from 10 am – 12 pm – contact firstname.lastname@example.org – www.ladieswholatte.com (Added to this blog in March 2014)
Wired for Weddings – for businesses in the wedding industry. Meet on the first Monday of each month. https://www.facebook.com/groups/583658514992108/?fref=ts
Pizza, Pasta and People– The emphasis is on informality and a relaxed environment although we will facilitate a traditional 60 second round so that everyone gets a flavour of who else is attending – email@example.com (Added to this blog December 2017)
Heathfield and Blackboys
Heathfield Small Business Network – lunch on first Monday of the month – contact Barbara Hibbart Tel : 01435 865135, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Grove Networking Breakfast – Blackboys, second Friday of the month, contact email@example.com
Lewes Pulse – Breakfast meeting every two weeks for Local professionals in Lewes. Find out more: http://lewespulse.co.uk/ (Added to this blog Jan 2016)
Lewes Women in Business – A not-for-profit community group that helps professional women with independent businesses in the Lewes District make connections – monthly meetings and business workshop programme.
Lewes Lunch Club – For B2B, meeting at local eateries on the third Wednesday of every month. Very relaxed networking with no 1 minute round or yearly fee – you simply pay for your dinner. Contact Jane Doswell: firstname.lastname@example.org (added to this blog April 2018)
Uckfield (and Buxted)
Uckfield Curry Club – run by Victoria Regan from Dawson Hart Solicitors – call 01825 762281 or email VictoriaRegan@rixandkay.co.uk
Women in Networking (WIN) – Monthly Lunch at Buxted Park Hotel run by Chloe Eason – 07729 458893 or email email@example.com and Jane Doswell – 07834 769324 0r email firstname.lastname@example.org (Added to this blog in Nov 2014).
Wealden District Council Business Breakfasts
Periodically there are business breakfasts and seminars – supported by the FSB
I have not tried to do a full list for West Sussex but here are a few I have come across (scroll down for some in Brighton in the next section… (don’t forget some networks from the list above will have groups in West Sussex – eg FSB, First Friday Network, Mumpreneurs, Business over Breakfast (BoB) etc. ):
Chambers and others: (Added to this blog in Dec 2013)
Other District and Borough Council website links (where you may click through and find lists) are here. A few I know of already are:
- Billingshurst Chamber – https://bhcc.co.uk/ Chamber meetings, plus BilliBusiness Lunch Club, plus annual exhibition – BilliBiz – The Show www.billibiztheshow.co.uk
- Haywards Heath and District Business Association – Monthly networking drinks and other events. http://hhdba.com/home/
- Steyning and District Business Chamber http://www.steyningchamber.co.uk
Hurst Women in Business (Added to this blog in Dec 2013)
For women in business in and around HurstPierPoint
Sussex Women in Business – Horsham (Added to this blog in Dec 2013)
Horsham – lunch event – http://www.wib-sussex.co.uk/
Lunch, breakfast and evening events – on two Thursdays in each month.
A FEW MORE:
Other networking groups in Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Kent and the UK… (please note that some of the networks already mentioned in the list above may have groups/events in West Sussex – e.g. FSB, First Friday Network, Mumpreneurs Sustainable Business Network etc. )
The Business Network Brighton – Launched in October 2017 http://www.business-network-brighton.co.uk/index.php (Added to this blog Sep 2017)
Brighton Curry Club – http://brightonbusinesscurryclub.co.uk/
Gatwick Diamond Business Association – http://www.gatwickdiamondbusiness.com/
Network Albion Business Club – https://www.networkalbion.co.uk/
Miniclick (For Photographers) – http://miniclick.co.uk/ Free talks, discussions, workshops and events for photographers in Brighton (Added to this blog Oct 2015)
The Platinum Club – http://theplatinumclubbrighton.co.uk/
Wired Sussex – http://www.wiredsussex.com/event-calendar/ (digital, media and technology sector)
Networking in Brighton – Monthly networking event for women http://www.networkinginbrighton.co.uk/
1230 The Womens Company (TWC)
In several locations – the nearest is in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, more in London…
Tunbridge Wells Mums in Business (Added to this blog in Dec 2013)
Usually meet on the first Wednesday evening of every month.
Various locations – predominantly in Kent – breakfast meetings.
Alternative Breakfast Club
Monthly meeting in Pembury, Kent http://www.altbreakfastclub.co.uk/
Business for Breakfast
Visit http://www.bforb.com/ to view contact details so that you can ask about where your nearest group is.
The Net – Simple Networking, Tunbridge Wells
Friendly, informal breakfast networking meetings for SMEs in and around Tunbridge Wells. Visit http://www.simple-networking.co.uk for more info (Added to this blog in March 2016).
Hurstpierpoint Professional Networking Meetup
The group is aimed at bringing people together from all types of business to network and support each other. Visit: https://www.meetup.com/Hurstpierpoint-Professional-Networking-Meetup/ for information. (Added to this blog in January 2019).
WBG (Wealden Business Group)
Visit http://www.wealden-business-group.co.uk/ for networking in Tenterden and surrounding areas (Added to this blog in November 2014).
And of course there are lots more in Kent and other counties! Local county council websites often link to all the Chambers and may mention other networks.
If you run a network, do promote it on social media, ensure it is on a well optimised web page, and you have listed it on sites such as this one (that isn’t well populated yet, but comes up in Google searches!) http://www.findnetworkingevents.com/events/index.cfm?action=eventslist&towncity=Eastbourne. You could also add your networks’ activities to other website events calendars – eg http://www.wiredsussex.com/event-calendar/.
And finally, don’t forget, if you know of more networks, please do comment below and/or email email@example.com and we will add them. Thank you!