North Wales Big Network Guest Blog By Judith Bond Cakes

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Who’d have thought a get-together of North Wales businesses on a murky November evening could be so much fun?

North Wales is becoming known for lots of things – adventure sports, great restaurants, epic landscapes – but one of the things that makes our business communities work so well, is our commitment to business networking across the patch. Colleagues from over the English border are often in awe of the networking and support opportunities available to businesses in Wales, and last night’s meeting was a true celebration of all that small business does well in our patch.

The place was packed, they even had to bring additional tables in.

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As one of the sponsors of the Business Week, we had been planning for this event for a while, so we got there early to set up our cupcakes. There was such a buzz as folk chatted and set up their stands which stretched right round the perimeter of the large conference room at the Business Centre.

We had a great location at the front of the room and even a spotlight to illuminate our banner! We pitched up next to Glasdir Conference Centre, waved to Supertemps across the other side, spotted ION Leadership, Nat West and Business Wales. Sage & Co were out in force with a great prize draw on offer. Mingle for Business were all decked out in their distinctive purple, FSB were showing off their lovely new branding and Knox Insolvency were giving away goodies too. I know I haven’t remembered everyone and I apologise for that!

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We were treated to canapés, all sourced locally in the Conwy Valley, while everyone chatted and the cupcakes began to disappear as folk realised they were first come first served.

We started the formal part of the evening with presentations from Hope House and St David’s Hospice – 2 local charities close to many hearts providing amazing care for terminally ill children and adults – for whom we were fundraising this evening.

I call it speed dating, but it was really just a big shuffle every so often.

We all got to chat to different folk that we hadn’t met before. Business cards were exchanged, ideas were shared and coffee meetings were planned.

One sign of a productive meeting is when no one wants to go home and many folk stayed chatting, planning, and munching cake long after the proceedings came to an end.

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We’ve been on the networking scene for about 3 years now and it’s lovely to be able to walk into a room and feel like you know a good proportion of the people. In some ways it’s a kind of club that we’re really glad to belong to.

The final note though must go to Selwyn who has faithfully served the FSB for many years. He reminded me of the thousands of other small business owners across North Wales who would never think of joining a network meeting, who’ve perhaps never been invited, or feel they are too busy or too nervous. We would do well to think of ways we can encourage others, persuade them to come along – even offer them an lift, and give them a glimpse into something so valuable that their business, and of course their confidence, will benefit beyond measure.

Big thanks to the Conwy team and partners for organising such a splendid evening.

See you at the next one,

Judith x

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