Signs of recession were nowhere to be seen at the inaugural gathering of the Tunbridge Wells First Friday business network held at The Wells Kitchen between 12 and 2 on Friday 4 May. More than 70 people, representing businesses of all sizes, met to make connections, talk about their businesses and find ways of helping each other.
The network is organised by Knibbs, the IT and telecoms specialist, that has recently opened new offices in Tunbridge Wells.
Managing Director, Tim Knibbs, said: “We wanted to make an immediate contribution to the Tunbridge Wells business community and decided that launching a First Friday business network was an ideal way of doing it.”
The people who attended enjoyed the informal nature of the gathering.
“You just buy yourself a drink and chat to the other people who are here,” explained James Neeter, Sales and Marketing Manager with Knibbs. “First Friday is free and the events are come and go as you please, every month.”
Gavin Fisher, Chief Executive of the Children’s Respite Trust said: “I’m really pleased by the number and quality of businesses that are here. Everybody seems to have come in the mood to network and it’s very easy to strike up new conversations.”
Reasons for attending were varied, from the simply curious to the strategic. Collin Adams of Bibby Financial Services said: “I work for the Hastings office in the group, but I see a vibrant local economy in West Kent and want to get to know more people here to expand my network of contacts.”
We are based out of Hastings, but see a vibrant local economy in West Kent and want to get to know more people here.”
Business confidence was high, despite official statistics showing that the UK as a whole is now back in recession.
“There is no shortage of opportunity to present proposals at the present time,” said Martin Long of Sugar Marketing. “Understandably, businesses want to make sure they are getting value for money, but business owners are looking to the future and doing what they believe they have to do to grow – including investing in their people, their infrastructure and their marketing.”
Tim Knibbs continued: “I am delighted by the turnout, which was generated entirely by LinkedIn and word of mouth. The mood in the room has been excellent and I am looking forward to welcoming even more people every First Friday of every month at The Wells Kitchen.
For more information, join the ‘First Friday – Tunbridge Wells, Kent’ LinkedIn group.