Portsmouth Business Exchange hosted its first face-to-face networking event since the pandemic began at The Village Hotel, providing attendees with talks from guest speakers and the opportunity to give short pitches about their businesses and build their networks over a buffet lunch.
The not-for-profit organisation and networking group has been running for more than 15 years, and was founded by a group of business owners from the area who wanted to develop their professional network.
Penny Plimmer took over the role of chairperson over lockdown so the event was her first as the leader of the organisation. She said it has been nerve wracking but thoroughly enjoyable.
Penny said: ‘At first it was really frightening because that’s not me, it’s out of my comfort zone but I've really enjoyed it.
‘This is our first meeting in two years for everybody just to get together, to raise money for the great charity Dementia Support and for people to connect, make new friends and make new connections.’
Each year the event supports a different charity, and this year the money went to Dementia Support based in Chichester. In total, £4521 was raised for the charity.
Long-time member of the networking group, Phil Mundy, said he was pleased to be back at the in-person event after such a long time away.
He said: ‘The event is brilliant, everyone seems desperate to talk to each other so we’ve got that in our favour. The food is good, what more could you ask, everything is running smoothly.’
Guest speakers at the event included Kevin Byrne, founder of Checkatrade, and Charlotte Carter, founder of Carter Bags. The speakers both shared their journeys and gave inspiring advice to the audience about how they found their own success.
Phil highlighted the importance of supporting charities at the events, saying it has become the centre of what the group represents.
He said: ‘The main thing at PBE is looking after people, not just the members but also the charities we’ve been involved with. Charities have always been dead centre of everything we do, it’s almost that doing business with each other is almost a secondary item and doing good comes first.’
For more information about the Portsmouth Business Exchange, visit portsmouthbusinessexchange.co.uk.