News and views relating to SMEs in the UK

Networking opportunities

Steve Wood, SME Business Help UK, 13th March 2010

As a result of the recession, it seems that many small business owners have realised how important networking is to grow their businesses and have stepped up the amount they are doing.

As a result, there seems to be a big growth in the number of networking organisations and opportunites available everywhere across the country.

I was talking to a friend recently and he was telling me that there were so many in his area, he could attend a different networking event every day of the week. Some weeks he was actually doing this!

There are of course a number of long established networking organisations in the UK, some have their own clearly defined and set ways of networking, others are more relaxed.

From my personal experience, some work better than others so you need to experiment to find one, or a combination, that works for you and your particular business.

There are new networking organisations starting up all the time and one such group in my local area (Portsmouth / Southampton) that has spun out of CityLocal is the Havant, Fareham and Portsmouth (HFP) Business Contacts Club .

Personally, I believe they have found a really good business model and structure for their meetings and it seems to be working very well and complements other networking opportunities in the area well.

They have just expanded this to cover a broader area along the south coast by involving two more CityLocal areas, namely Southampton and Eastleigh, to create the Solent Business Contacts Club.

I highly recommend a visit to any of their events. Have a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit or two and meet some really great business people from the area. Details are on our events page.


Who wants to be an Entrepreneur ?

Steve Wood, White Collar Unemployed, 24/1/2010

PIPEline is a unique 5-day course for ideas-stage entrepreneurs.

The Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise and Business Link, are running the course over two weekends in January and culminating in a final pitching event (a bit like Dragons Den apparently), in February.

It is targeted at anyone who has a degree and who is currently unemployed, who has been made redundant or is in danger of redundancy, who aims to use unemployment as an opportunity to start their own business.

The aim of the course is to:

  • Develop and focus your entrepreneurial ideas
  • Discover if an entrepreneurial venture is right for you
  • Network with other ideas-stage entrepreneurs
  • Meet and hear from entrepreneurs who have already done it
  • Pitch to providers of incubation, start-up finance and business mentoring

I was very pleased to be asked to do a talk at their PIPEline course dinner to recount my experience of redundancy, unemployment and starting up a business.

Contact:, Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise (PCE)


1.1 million job opportunities in the UK

Steve Wood, White Collar Unemployed, December 2009

A recent study confirms that new businesses and entrepreneurs are the key factor in adding new jobs. If just 10% of aspiring entrepreneurs actually set up businesses, there would be an extra 1.1 million job opportunities in the UK, it has been estimated.

Enterprise UK, a national organisation that promotes entrepreneurialism, believes that an extra 647,000 businesses would be created as a result. The findings are based on research which found that more than six million people in the UK have dreams of starting a business.

Far from deterring people’s entrepreneurial aspirations, the recession has actually encouraged budding business owners in Britain, according to the Enterprise UK report. The number of people expressing a desire to start their own venture has gone up by 12% in the past year.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: “… entrepreneurs are key to driving economic prosperity. Their contribution to the UK and global economy cannot be overestimated.”

So what are you waiting for !


Enterprise UK
White Collar Unemployed Blog


Lowestoft UK's enterprise capital

Lowestoft , a seaside town, where 5,000 new businesses have been set up in the past two years, creating almost 10,000 jobs, was named the enterprise capital of Britain.

Lowestoft in the East of England is said to have transformed itself from a town in decline hit by industrial downturns into a breeding ground for business growth. read more

UKPA 1st December 2009

Time to Cheque out !

Bankers will decide this month whether to do away with cheques altogether. The decision will be taken on December 16 by the Payments Council, which sets the strategy for payments in Britain, including those used by all the UK’s main high street banks. read more

The Time online, 1st December 2009

BT rings changes by charging businesses up to 15pc more

Businesses face higher BT call charges from December 1 with calls to mobile networks increasing by 8pc and daytime local calls costing 15pc more. read more, 1st December 2009

UK Tackles Funding Crisis For British Tech

The UK Government is aiming to create a £1billion fund for technology companies. They announced today that they are pushing ahead with a plan to create what it claims will be the "largest technology fund in Europe" to help counter an expected downturn in funding for small businesses and start-ups. read more

By Andrew Donoghue, eWeekEurope, 4th August, 2009

Retailers Look To Outsourcing To Cut Costs

The global recession is leading companies to investigate new ways to cut costs and improve the sustainability of their IT systems.

Recent research reported on eWeekEurope yesterday indicates that this includes the retail sector which is increasingly looking to outsource technology and business processes. read more

Steve Wood, SME Business Help UK , 19th June 2009

Get networking

Did you know that it is estimated that approximately 70% of new business arises from word of mouth referals ? Networking therefore is a very important part of creating and maintaining new business.

It can be a bit daunting at first but you soon get into it. Networking events are the ideal place to hone your skills since everyone there is there for the same thing, i.e. to network and gain new contacts. This makes your task much easier since you already have something in common to talk about.

I have added a new events page to the web site and have included some details of some networking events that are coming up soon. If anyone knows of any other events that are coming up, please let me know so that I can add the details to our site.

Steve Wood, SME Business Help UK , 12th June 2009

I met the Chamber!

I don't think anyone would argue that networking is essential for business to help it to grow. My first real contact with the Portsmouth & South East Hampshire Chamber of Commerce was at Enterprise 09 (see below) when I joined one of the round table discussions presented by Nicholas Hoath where he was highlighting the importance of networking. During the session he passed on lots of tips and mentioned that the Chamber hold regular networking events.

Well to cut a long story short, I was invited along to the "Meet the Chamber" event held on the 1st June at the De Vere Venue, New Place at Shirrell Heath (just north of Fareham - what a wonderful place!) to see how it all worked and meet some of the members (new and old).

The event was very well attended with over 100 delegates and they had a few exhibitors promoting their services for you to visit whilst doing some networking before the main event got under way. I have to say that I was very impressed with the event and made quite a few new acquaintances.

Having been convinced of the benefits of networking and how useful this event had been to me, I filled in the application form to join the Chamber as soon as I got home and sent it off!

Steve Wood, SME Business Help UK , 12th June 2009

Enterprise 2009

Chris Briggs of Anchorage Consulting and myself (Steve Wood of Scalar Enterprises) attended Enterprise 09 on the 23 April, at 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Portsmouth. "Enterprise 09 is THE ‘one stop shop’ for business advice and information, plus it offers a real opportunity for you to promote your business to the other visitors". The event was organised by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Business Link and the keynote address was given by Richard Farleigh of Dragons Den fame. Overall, we thought it was a very interesting and successful event. You can watch the video of Richard's opening address and find more details on the Enterprise 09 web site.

Steve Wood, SME Business Help UK , 6th May 2009


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The aim of the White Collar Unemployed web site is to to bring together the White Collar unemployed community in the UK to share questions, concerns, frustrations, thoughts, ideas, advice and anything else that might help our community to get back to work.

We also aim to try and keep you up to date on topical issues and point you in the right direction for advice, information etc that we come across that could be of help to you.

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