Networking night hears from top entrepreneurs

Stef Nienaltowski, Karen Blackett OBE, Mark Waldron, Bernie Topham, Steve Rad,  James Taylor, Bob Nichol, Maddie Kamara, Jack Crook, Maureen Frost, Paula Swain, Ross McNally, Portia Bircher 'Picture by M.Focard de Fontefiguieres
Stef Nienaltowski, Karen Blackett OBE, Mark Waldron, Bernie Topham, Steve Rad, James Taylor, Bob Nichol, Maddie Kamara, Jack Crook, Maureen Frost, Paula Swain, Ross McNally, Portia Bircher 'Picture by M.Focard de Fontefiguieres
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MORE than 200 delegates from the regional business community gathered at the University of Portsmouth’s fourth annual Big Networking Night to dicuss entrepenurshio and the ways the university supports and inspires those starting out in business. 

The event, which was held during Global Entrepreneurship Week, was attended by business owners and leaders, as well as university staff and students.

There was the opportunity to network throughout the evening, where new business connections were formed. 

Prior to the main event, which was held in the University’s Future Technology Centre, a VIP event was held with guests including Karen Blackett OBE, the university’s chancellor, the Lord Mayor Lee Mason and the Gerald Vernon-Jackson leader of Portsmouth City Council.

Following an introduction by acting pro-vice-chancellor Professor Bob Nichol, Ross McNally, executive chairman of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, spoke of their future plans for the region.

The dean of the University’s Faculty of Business and Law, Professor Gioia Pescetto, introduced the entrepreneurs in residence programme and welcomed 11 of the 14 who were present on the night. This programme provides the university with access to entrepreneurs from various backgrounds.

Karen then gave a keynote address as to why businesses should engage with universities.

Steve Rad, from event sponsors Radweb, spoke of ways he has engaged with the university since leaving as a student and setting up his own business in Portsmouth, with James Taylor.

Karen said: ‘Collaboration is crucial to success for any business and whether you’re a start- up, small business or a multinational, universities have a wide range of business services that can help take an organisation to the next level.

‘This event is a great opportunity for the local business community to access the University of Portsmouth’s expertise and technology that they would otherwise not have access to.’ 

Event organiser Pat Smith, small business manager at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘It was an excellent opportunity for our students to engage with so many local business people and for the business people to connect with our talented students.’ 

Next year’s Big Networking Night will take place on November 21.