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Emma reviews a business forum styled B2B networking group – BED

Date: 10 April 2017

The Businsess Network Column from Platinum Business Magazine

By Emma Pearce – Marketing Consultant – marketing planning, outsourced marketing and social media training

BED networking

Emma Pearce reviews a business network that aims to offer a Business Forum style event rather than a typical networking meeting.


The Business Enhancement & Development Group (BED) in Eastbourne is primarily for B2B companies that are interested in sharing business knowledge and ideas, as well as helping each other with problem solving. Of course it has some of the behaviour of a networking group and plenty of business is done and referred between members.


Originally a group of 5 business owners set up the group in 2012. It now has breakfast meetings attended by 16-18 people every two weeks. One of those core members is Lawrence Culham from Troman Finance. He said “BED offers real value because each meeting provides useful business knowledge, along with the opportunity for members to ask for help with making a decision in their own business. Group discussions provide tips, advice and insights that definitely help our business owners determine solutions.”


The business learning element is usually provided by a member who must impart practical guidance and not just sell their wares.


Co-organiser Stephen Elliot from Advice 4 Business added “We encourage members to have one-to-one meetings to really get to know each other. They are always productive. Our format also allows for everyone to finish eating breakfast before we listen to each person around the table. Everyone can focus, listen and contribute more that way. We finish the meeting promptly at 8.30 am so everyone can get back to their business.


The day I visited the group there was a great mix of business owners in attendance – from architects and brewery equipment suppliers, to air conditioning installers, caterers, health and safety, IT and more.

Meeting Format

  • Open Networking
  • Breakfast
  • 1 minute round
  • Business Learning Presentation
  • Problem Solving Forum

Lawrence added “Our group is focused on business owners being in attendance. There is a high level of professionalism but with a relaxed feel. The format works. Everyone is welcome to engage in discussions and ask for help.”


Key Facts

  •    Location: Chalk Farm Hotel, Eastbourne
  •    Frequency: Every 2 weeks
  •    Size: Average of 16 in attendance
  •    Time: Start at 6.45 – 7 am, finish at 8.30 am
  •    Lock out: Yes, but accommodate as much as possible
  •    USP:  Business Forum style
  •    Minute round:  Yes
  •    Speaker slot: Yes
  •    Cost: £12.50 per meeting

The BED group is independent and manages its own funds. There is no membership cost, but each member sets up a direct debit for £12.50 every 2 weeks. Guests are welcome and receive a free breakfast. The group also organises a couple of social events each year, typically at Christmas and a summer BBQ for guests and family too.
For more information about BED please contact Lawrence Culham 07793 032180, or Stephen Elliott 07715 313334,


Have a look at our huge list of networking groups in Sussex 

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