Portsmouth Business Exchange held its first face-to-face networking event since the start of the pandemic at the Village Hotel, providing attendees with guest speaker talks and the chance to briefly showcase their businesses and grow their networks over lunch buffet.
The non-profit organization and networking group has been around for over 15 years and was founded by a group of local entrepreneurs who wanted to expand their professional network.
Penny Plimmer took over the role of chairperson during the lockdown, so the event was her first as head of the organization. She said it had been nerve-wracking but very enjoyable.
Penny said: “At first it was really scary because it’s not me, it’s out of my comfort zone but I really enjoyed it.”
“This is our first meeting in two years for everyone to come together, to raise money for the great charity Dementia Support and for people to connect, make new friends and build new relationships. “
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Each year the event supports a different charity, and this year the money went to Chichester-based Dementia Support. A total of £4,521 was raised for the charity.
Longtime member of the networking group, Phil Mundy, said he was delighted to be back at the in-person event after such a long absence.
He said: “The event is brilliant, everyone seems desperate to talk to each other, so we have that in our favour.” The food is good, what more can you ask for, everything is going well.
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 the audience inspirational advice on how they found their own success.
Phil stressed the importance of supporting charities at events, saying it has become central to what the group stands for.
He said: “The main thing at PBE is to look after the people, not just the members but also the charities we have been involved with. Charities have always been at the center of everything we do, it’s almost that doing business with each other is almost secondary and doing good comes first.