MANAGING directors and chief executives from more than 100 businesses gathered together at the request of a mayor.
Councillor Paul Buckley, the Mayor of Havant, invited businesses from across the borough to the first event of its kind last night.
When he first came into office in May Cllr Buckley made it clear that he would champion enterprise and business across Havant and Waterlooville – and last night’s event at Havant’s Public Service Plaza was an opportunity to do just that.
He said: ‘When I started as mayor I made it clear I wanted to work with the business and economic development team to promote the council’s contact with businesses and to promote the economy of the borough.
‘I wanted to use the convening powers of the mayor. It came about when we were having discussions with Havant MP David Willetts.
‘He said he thought the mayor could use the drawing power of the chain to get businesses together.
‘I’ve been surprised at how well it’s gone. There are around 160 people from 140 companies.
‘I wanted to get them talking to each other.
‘The aim is to give businesses of different sizes the chance to meet and network – particularly some of the smaller companies who may have services to offer to the bigger companies but aren’t able to get a foot in the door.’
Among the businesses represented at the event were the international pharmaceuticals firm Pfizer and outdoor clothing label Fat Face.
They were rubbing shoulders with people from small businesses and recent start-ups which have been helped by the £500 business grants given out by the council.
Adrian Brown is a director of Sameday Express Freight, based in Harts Farm Way, Havant.
Mr Brown said: ‘We’ve only just moved into Havant and we’re trying to do business with other companies in the area so an event like this is ideal.’
And Sophie Fullerlove, the director of The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, in East Street, Havant, was also impressed.
She said: ‘This is fantastic.
‘It’s great for me to be able to meet other businesses, it’s great for networking.
‘It’s nice to see that Havant has such a thriving business community. And, of course, it’s good for businesses to support the arts. I hope I’ll make some good contacts here.’