"I’ve found my chamber membership simply worth its weight in gold. The chamber team are fantastic, always accessible and very generous with their time. If they don’t know the answer they’re always able to point you in the direction of someone who will. And I suppose that’s what I like most about the chamber; it’s simply teaming with nice, down-to-earth people who are a pleasure to network with. In the last year members I’ve met have proven invaluable to my business: Debbie Venn of ASB law is a font of legal knowledge, Susi at Brighton Togs made sure we got some great corporate photos and Vanessa at The Williams Partnership delivered some amazing executive coaching. It’s thanks to the chamber that I’m making such great connections!"
Kate Peach, Peacharno Consulting
“When we set up in business two years ago one of the first things we did was to join the Chamber and what a great decision that turned out to be. Moving from a large organisation to working for yourself can feel terribly isolating but thanks to all the lovely contacts we made at the Chamber we had lots of support along the way. Networking is the main way we market our business and the Chamber has allowed us to meet lots of people who have become clients and has raised our profile in the city. Most importantly we love coming along to all the wonderful events and meeting so many interesting people.”
Carol Lewis, Bainbridge Lewis
"I really enjoy being a chamber member because it gives me lots of opportunities other than just selling my products and services. My company MCCIT specialises in business continuity products and services. We supply services such as online file sharing, online back-ups, email services and website hosting. Being a chamber member gives me direct access to a wealth of legal advice, expert marketing tips and accounting information.
The Chamber gives my business an opportunity to shine by providing the online members area where I can place free advertisements as well as events such as the Chamber breakfasts: an excellent opportunity for me to meet potential clients, arrange meetings and have a great breakfast!
I can honestly say that this is one organisation that even if I didn’t make any money and didn’t sell any services, I would still be happy being a member of because I enjoy being there."
Tino Da Silva, MCCIT
"When we launched our Brighton-business last year, we were keen to quickly establish our brand and connect with other businesses in the City. The Chamber’s Inspirational Breakfasts are a great way of doing this and provide excellent networking opportunities. They also focus on relevant topics and are hugely enjoyable."
Michael Divers, bold_hr
"Don’t be put off by the thought of networking events. We felt like the last people on earth likely to ever attend one, but we were pleasantly surprised by how good they are.
If you’re not accustomed to networking, we can thoroughly recommend the Chambers’ breakfasts. They have managed to create such a friendly, chilled-out atmosphere that brings out the best in people. A fab start to the day, we left feeling energized and in such a short space of time, managed to not only make some good contacts, but also get to know some interesting people. We feel it’s best to not think of it in purely business terms, but rather, as a chance to meet people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet, and to have some fun. The talks are really interesting, there’s always something new to learn.
We’ve found all the staff at Brighton Chambers so welcoming and professional, always ready to give advice and make introductions. Tapping into their fantastic knowledge of the local business scene is also a bonus. So, if you’re looking to promote your business or raise your local profile whilst learning from a variety of guest speakers, give them a try. Oh yes, and the Carluccios’ breakfasts are awesome!"
Bryan Garcia-Wilkinson, Artfeeder
"In the middle of last year I took a life changing decision to move out of the relative comfort of corporate life and set-up on my own. Having not run a small business before the experience has been simultaneously both exciting and a little scary for me. Needless to say that every penny spent matters and I have been very careful about how I have invested in getting my business going.
One of the best investments I have made to date has been the money I have spent in joining the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce. For someone who has found networking a little painful in the past the Chambers has made the experience of networking with Brighton’s businesses much more pleasurable. I have found the Inspirational Breakfasts network events to be both easy to get involved in, thanks to the Chambers Ambassadors, extremely valuable in terms of the access they provide to Brighton and Hove’s very supportive business community and very informative thanks to the well thought about presentations that are shared at these events.
I have also found the Chambers to be an excellent champion of my business through their promotion of my offers and articles through email, the Chambers Website and social media. All in all they have been a great support team for me through my early days as a new business owner and I couldn’t recommend them more."
Robin Hall, Robin Hall HR
“Having recently moved to Brighton I have found the Chamber a fantastic way to meet useful business contacts. The Chamber makes new members feel very welcome and connects us with other relevant members. I have had a number of personal introductions made by Sarah as well as attending the friendly and informative events. For a modest investment, the Chamber is a great way to increase your connections in the City as well as an invaluable resource.”
Robert Da Costa, Da Costa Coaching Ltd
"The Terre-a-terre brunch talk was really interesting. It’s often easy with Networking events to be thinking ‘What on earth do I have in common with the person I’m talking to?’. As part of the talk we did an exercise on finding something in common with whoever we were sitting next to. For this, I ended up chatting to Stacy Martin from Crunch, an online accountancy firm.
I’m Sales Manager of Light Foot LED, an LED Lighting company: whilst on the face of it we had nothing in common, when we started with the idea of ‘we have something in common, let’s find out what it is’, we quickly established the same two things were important to both of our customers: 1)Saving money (Crunch offer Accountancy prices cheaper than the big firms, Light Foot LED help customers save £££ on their lighting electricity bills) & 2)Being Eco-friendly (Crunch work mostly online, thereby minimising the Carbon output of constant travel, and Light Foot LED offer LED Lights which contain no poisonous Mercury etc., reduce electricity consumption and last much longer than conventional lighting to minimise Production carbon emissions.
It was therefore a fascinating exercise in how much even seemingly unconnected firms such as ours can have in common if they start with the right mindset, and was inspirational for Networking."
Dominic James, Lightfood LED
"I have always found the Brighton and Hove Chamber events enjoyable and an excellent way to meet new contacts and keep in touch with other members. At my first networking event one of the Ambassadors introduced me to lots of people and made me feel very welcome. The choice of speakers at the events is always very good and the atmosphere is relaxed, supportive and fun. The Chamber is always open to trying new things and I have particularly enjoyed the brunch networking events that were introduced this year."
Alice Jones, The Grand Brighton
“I’ve been impressed by how friendly, dynamic and positive everyone within the Chamber is, members and executive alike. It’s a pleasure to be part of an organisation which is forward-thinking, approachable and vibrant. The meetings I’ve been to have been well organised, very well attended and I’ve come away with fresh contacts, fresh ideas and some fresh work too! Equally impressive is the fact that wherever there’s a Chamber representative, they make a point of introducing members to others where there may be some mutual business interest – which is really thoughtful and constructive,” says Jill, “and in this economic climate it’s good to know the Chamber is supporting members to make their businesses thrive."
Jill Woolf, Chimera Communications
"The Chamber provides an excellent hub for people in the Brighton and Hove business community to meet each other and share their experiences, concerns and news. The Chamber events are usually full of a diverse mix of different businesses and are therefore great opportunities for cross-referrals with people that you build a relationship with and help you build a network of contacts in your operating area so you know who to call on. In addition, the events allow for the sharing of a wealth of different subjects, from use of social media, to branding and issues that affect the City. I enjoy being involved as an Ambassador of the Chamber and speaking with members (new and existing) and look forward to many more events in the future!"
Debbie Venn, ASB Law LLP
"This particular event, while following the popular networking formula of mingle-eat-listen to speaker-mingle, was pretty special. The Grand’s fading opulence is always a treat, even in one of their formal, wood-paneled rooms full of men in suits. I guess a speaker from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is going to attract more than its fair share of accountants but he was riveting. What a treat to hear one of our leading economists cover exchange rate difficulties, inflationary pressures, unemployment issues and quantitative easing with such authority. Not only was he clear but I had to admire his candour. What is the economic outlook? Well, it’s not looking good and much is uncertain! Fortunately we seem to have at least one member on that commitee with a planet sized brain who appears to care deeply about it."
Paul Hutchings, Kindle Research
"Being members of the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce gives the University of Sussex a great insight into the business world, as well as the chance to collaborate with some fantastic organisations. By working with the Chamber, we can give other members an accessible way to work with the University, and get involved with our activities and events. Our students have really benefitted from our relationship as they have been able to gain access to Chamber activity, which has enhanced their CV, personal development and student experience generally.
The University of Sussex is very keen to contribute to the economic success of Brighton & Hove and working with Chamber is a great way to do this."
Sally Wright, University of Sussex
"As a small business owner, I’ve found the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce hugely supportive. Meeting other, like-minded people who run similar-sized businesses and face similar problems, I have not only had the opportunity to swap valuable advice and experience, but I’ve also made some valuable contacts with both prospective clients and local suppliers. The Chamber has been a great source of inspiration to me and I believe they play a very important role in bringing businesses together in the City."
Georgina Gibson, Georgina Gibson Interior Design
"Being a member of the Chamber has allowed Bizspace to greatly improve both our known presence and levels of interaction within the local business arena. The fortnightly inspirational breakfasts allow Bizspace staff to meet, identify and sustain relationships already established with other local like-minded businesses and individuals who share our passion for building trade and commerce in Brighton & Hove. It has been a pleasure to be involved with such a pro-active Chamber, one that cares for its members and wishes to see a real return from their investment. For that reason I make sure I book my breakfasts well in advance to secure my place!"
Matthew Barrell, Bizspace Limited
"I joined the Chamber about four years ago and have really enjoyed being a member. On a personal level I’ve met some great people who I have become friends with though the networking events – I have then gone on to work with some of these people on business related projects. The Chamber is not stuffy and has a really positive vibe about it, this is great when you are a small business needing some support. There are also opportunities to get involved as a volunteer – I have found this really useful for my business and making new contacts."
Clare Hall, Hall Creative
"The Chamber stands out from other networking groups and events due to its relaxed, welcoming approach and variety of members, which results in the perfect environment to build up an excellent group of business contacts. As the largest law firm in Brighton & Hove, we feel it is important that we support our vibrant business community. The Chamber gives us the opportunity to meet with some of the best businesses that the City has to offer, to share ideas and offer advice to those that may need legal services. We are very proud to be sponsoring the first ever Chamber Star Awards in April to recognise those members that make an outstanding contribution to the Chamber and the great work it does for local business."
Gemma Hope, Mayo Wynne Baxter
"I wasn’t sure which networking group to join when I first started in business, so I tried them all. Most of them were completely wrong for my business, but the Chamber was excellent. The networking events are well attended, well prepared and genuinely interesting – they must be to get me out of the house by 7am! I enjoy catching up with business friends and meeting new people, but what’s really nice is that if I want to meet a whole group of new contacts I can, or if I wish to contact a specific person the Chamber can help me do that too. I’m now a Chamber Ambassador and feel privileged to welcome in new members and help them with their networking. I would whole heartedly recommend joining the Chamber to any local business."
David Blood, Posture People Ltd
''Such an active Chamber team makes this probably the best in the region. Friendly, efficient and supportive. It's great to meet and network with other members from sole traders to PLCs all at the same events, and every time the Chamber teams are always so welcoming. The annual diary, member's directory and training resources are invaluable to any business. At last a Chamber that really does work for business and community.''
Richard Excell, Excell Design
"We decided to join the Chamber after a recommendation from members Bainbridge Lewis accountants. It was our first official step into a business networking group so we were unsure what to expect, but the Chamber team are fantastic and very welcoming. As a small business which is relatively new to the scene it’s great to meet other people in a similar position and get ideas and inspiration from each other. We’ve made some great contacts since joining who we’re starting to get business from and have had The Argus referred to us for a feature so we’re really pleased with the added exposure."
Jeremy Jacobs, Raise Bakery
"I joined the Chamber in order to develop new commercial clients in the Brighton area and I've made some excellent contacts and won very enjoyable new business as a result. I was asked by the Chamber to take some photographs at their AGM in 2010, and was later asked to photograph some of the Chamber volunteers for their website. This put me in direct contact with other members, several of whom have since commissioned my photographic work. Personal recommendation is a crucial way of gaining the trust of new clients and being able to 'do my thing' in front of influential businessmen and women in Brighton and Hove has been invaluable."
Trevor Smeaton, Trevor Smeaton Photography
"I joined the Chamber of Commerce over a year ago. As a freelance Marketer, I spend a lot of time working alone in my home office and being a member has given me lots of opportunities to meet new people and build relationships with other business owners. Over the past year I’ve shared skills and worked alongside many other members including graphic designers, copywriters and other small businesses needing help to plan their marketing activities. The Chamber events are really relaxed and friendly. I now truly feel part of the business community in Brighton and Hove."
Christine Davey, Christine Davey Marketing
"I met the New Writing South team at a Chamber Breakfast in October. After listening to them, I realised Bonett’s could derive some benefits from collaboration to improve our use of the English language. Following workshops with Paul Lyalls, a London based poet, we are slowly reinventing our ‘words’. It’s been very rewarding, including some surprising publicity - a piece with James Naughtie on the Radio 4 Today Programme. You can’t ask for much more than that!"
Paul Bonnett, Bonnett's Estate Agents
"I was delighted to join the Chamber, as having the opportunity to introduce The Sussex Beacon to a variety of people, from a myriad of industries, is vitally important. Companies and their employees can help a charity in many different ways and the Chamber provides us with a structured, supportive, business-driven environment where we can develop mutually beneficial relationships. Being a member of the Chamber will be a key tool in helping in the sustained growth of The Sussex Beacon."
Nick Rose, The Sussex Beacon
“Sponsoring The Big Debate gave us an opportunity, as a community law firm, to support and take part in a lively, well attended debate. In addition, we made valuable contacts in the Brighton and Hove business community. We would encourage other member businesses to support their Chamber in this way and we would certainly consider doing this again. It was fun!”
Fiona Martin, Martin Searle Solicitors
"Sponsoring Chamber events is an excellent way to promote to pro-active members. You have a key audience sitting listening to you already and then an opportunity to network. Due to the breadth of the audience you are going to appeal to someone out there, although our iPad promotions do appeal to everyone! Working with the Chamber is always a pleasure and they'll find the right event for you if your looking for something specific or have a strict budget."
Matthew Jackson, Solutions-Inc
“The Construction Voice event offered us a unique opportunity to showcase our brand in front of a variety of industry professionals all united by their passionate views about a relevant topic. The event was also an excellent networking opportunity, helping us to make several valuable new contacts.”
James Rogers, Bouygues UK
“As a brand new business and chamber member I was incredibly impressed with the warm & inclusive welcome, quality food and tremendous speaker at the recent Business Brunch. I will definitely be attending more of these as they added real value to my business and who knows, maybe it will be Advice Cloud presenting the success story in a few years time?”
Chris Farthing, Advice Cloud
"The recent Spotlight Lunch with Nigel Lambe was, as with all the Chamber events I’ve attended, extremely enjoyable, informative and well-organised. As well as gaining some insight into the thinking of a successful Brighton entrepreneur, I was able to catch up with existing contacts and meet some interesting new people. The food was great too!"
Ian Hopping, Auditel
Business in the City Lunch
“The business lunch at Drakes was a really nice way to spend a few hours. The food, surroundings, company and speaker were all amazing. The only difficulty was returning to the office afterwards to do some work!”
Carol Lewis, Bainbridge Lewis
"I was delighted to be contacted by one of the businesses I met at the Chamber’s Business in the City lunch, and they have now become a regular client. It was a good reminder that networking really works. I will be booking more Chamber events soon."
Lisa Bamford, Stoats & Weasels Ltd
"I attended the Business Beyond the City lunch at The Restaurant at Drakes; my first Chamber event since rejoining earlier this year. As valuable as networking can be for finding new business it takes me away from delivering work for my clients so I have to be choosy as to what events I attend. This event ticked all the boxes for me. From a business point of view there was a good cross section of local businesses attending and an engaging speaker with something interesting to say about growing his business and from a social perspective there was convivial company and great food in a very nice restaurant."
Barclay Thompson, Clear Business Development Ltd
"The Bitesized event I ran was excellently organised and I was in capable hands throughout. All I had to do was turn up with my presentation; the wonderful team at the Chamber in conjunction with the staff at the Cricket Ground had made sure that the event was publicised well and that all necessary equipment was set up and laid out. The event was a great source of business. I was introduced to relevant people, and was also approached afterwards by people who wanted to remain in contact with me."
"The 'Price is Right' Bite-size I found both insightful and informative. Really getting to grips on how I spend and allocate my time has enabled me to understand how much of my time is actually billable and therefore, how I should set my prices. With the actual percentages in front of me, it was easy to identify which areas of my business needed more attention and which needed less. I also found the salary statistics, from a range of professions, incredibly interesting and there were definitely some surprises! Actually breaking down what you need to earn to ‘get by’ and what you would love to earn to enjoy the extras life has to offer was a great exercise. This course has helped me to get up close and personal with figures and find clarity around the financial targets I want to set and achieve. With a new perspective and some great practical takeaways to implement, the Bite-size was well worth the money, (and the heat!) thank you Julia."
Lucy Brand, Lady Digital
"Julia Chanteray's bite sized session "The Price is Right" really opened my eyes to the complexities of pricing structures. Julia incorporates a mixture of learning methods and importantly hands on exercises, putting the learning straight into practice. A great introduction, towards developing correct pricing for your brand."
Su Wilson, Partially Obscured
“The training was very useful and helped me to produce a more effective email marketing strategy. I learnt how to get the best results out of our campaigns by segmenting lists and using the analytics correctly. Great training and I would definitely recommend!”
Amy Simmons, Cobb PR
"The Brighton Chamber bite-size learning event was great fun, even for first thing Monday morning! A very informative, engaging and productive session."
Ibrahim Mikhail, Acumen Business Law
"The 'How to create a marketing strategy' Bite-sized Learning session was great. It was focused, gave real insight into marketing challenges and used relevant examples or successes and flops elsewhere. It's helping me put some structure around my marketing planning. I found the length of the Bite-sized session just right. It's not too long away from pressing day-to-day matters, but long enough to give confidence in what you're already doing, to get you to the next level of knowledge, or to know what you need to learn next."
James Dempster, Cobb Digital
"Delivering a bite-sized learning session for Brighton Chamber means you're seen as an expert in your field. Bite-sized does exactly what it says on the tin - it's a taster for members and non-members alike to judge whether they need or want to delve more deeply into a topic, if it's relevant for them and how it can help their business. I was lucky with the recent PR session I gave in as much as the delegates were a lively bunch and stimulated much interesting debate around the topic. Not only could I give insights, helpful tips and ideas to put into practice straight away, but there were some challenging questions, which I welcomed. Being a Chamber bite-sized learning session leader offers a credible platform to deliver knowledge and views, as well as the ability to form new contacts, catch up with others and hopefully encourage attendees to investigate the subject more. An added benefit is that I'm normally lucky enough to welcome new clients as a direct result (although that's clearly not the overriding reason for doing it)! What's not to love?!"
Jill Woolf, Chimera Communications
"In February, I dipped my toe into the Spotlight Supper pond for the first time and found it to be a great opportunity to network and find out more about other businesses, most of whom I’d not met at the breakfast or brunch events. The venue is smaller and the feel more intimate, with delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere (or maybe that was the glass of chilled white on arrival!)"
Frances Duncan, Whitehawk Inn
The Big Debate
“The Chamber’s Big Debates offer a relaxed alternative to traditional networking events – the way they're organised means they're informal, friendly and informative. These events are a great way to keep in touch with what’s going on in the local business community and it’s also quite an eye-opener to hear some people's opinions on topical issues affecting Brighton and Hove. Audience involvement and inviting attendees to vote with their feet also gives everyone the chance to move around, hear lots of different opinions and find out about people from a variety of local businesses.”
Linda Harrison, Linda Harrison Copywriter
"For the past two years I've attended the Chamber's Christmas parties. Last year's cabaret was particularly fun, and as I work on my own the majority of the time it means I get the chance to have a work Christmas party too!"
Paul Bunkham, Dobit
“I met Grace Evans and the Chamber team at Let’s Do Business Exhibition in Brighton, they are extremely friendly and encouraged me to attend one of their events. I attended the Chamber Breakfast as a non member and they had already mentioned me to a fantastic charity without me knowing. The charity had time to look at our website before I went to the breakfast and has also recommended us to another charity. This is networking at its best!”
Emma Gilbert, Fundraising Auctions
"As any entrepreneur worth their salt knows, networking is vital to success, and it’s how I’ve made Brighton Fashion Week thrive. At my first Chamber of Commerce event I was introduced to Hannah Garber of Brighton Paper Round. As it turned out Hannah had a background in fashion and she, in turn, introduced me to Ian and Richard of Business Cash Advance. A meeting was set up and BCA came on board as sponsor of our Ready to Wear Show. Hannah and I have become great friends and Brighton Paper Round is also one of our supporters. Thanks Brighton Chamber!"Liz Bishop, Brighton Fashion Week
"We have been going to networking events since our inception in 2005, so we've seen and heard it all! Most of these allegiances have fallen by the wayside for any number of reasons but we have stuck with the Chamber for its sheer brilliance. The events are always buzzy and full of interesting people with interesting stories. We have learnt a lot about business from other people, and have received some great advice to help make our business more successful. But we have also got many clients and quite a lot of suppliers from their pool of members too. If we don't know someone who can help us, you can be sure that someone at the Chamber does! I thoroughly recommend becoming a member, it will do your business no end of good!"
Keren Turner and Lisa Bamford, Stoats & Weasels Ltd
"The Chamber's Inspirational Breakfasts are a fantastic place to hear about great ideas, chat with friendly interesting people and develop genuine contacts."
Ria Wilson, Rockinghorse
“I highly recommend the Chamber inspirational breakfasts. Not only do they provide a great opportunity to develop and establish good working relationships with the Brighton business community in a relaxed and informal environment, but they also never fail to inspire – with outstanding guest speakers who are always interesting, motivating and entertaining. Couple that with the infamous Carluccio's breakfast and a great cup of coffee it is the perfect start to the day”.
Gemma Hope, Mayo Wynne Baxter
“The Chamber manages to get great speakers along to the Chamber breakfasts twice a month. The speakers appeal to all sectors of the business community. Recently we had Christine Taylor, the creative director from choccywoccydoodah speak to us. She shared with us her story of her way to the top. She also gave us a boost and tips about working and running a business in our unique Brighton. We also got to take away some gorgeous chocolate”.
Victoria Mason, Cardens Accountants
"The Chamber has supplied both our business and myself valuable support since start up. Thank you Sarah Springford for your continued support and introductions. Starting up a new business for the first time is a scary prospect and I have found the support and connections I have gained through the Chamber breakfasts invaluable. A chance meeting with Paul Hopwood who has been full of calm and thoughtful advice and support has been inspirational thanks Paul!"
Nicola Gunstone, The Eco Technology Show
"I am not a morning person. But strangely I like Chamber Breakfast meetings. It’s horrible getting out of bed, but once you’re in Carluccio’s drinking fresh orange juice or a nice coffee, it suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. I tend to use the breakfast events to find suppliers for my business. I’ve found some great suppliers who I go back to time and time again. It’s also a great event for just getting to know other local businesses. Oh, and can’t not mention the scrummy cooked breakfast or the healthy and still impressively tasty option."
Anna Kane, Ampleo
"In addition to the occasional evening event, I have made a conscious effort to attend as many Chamber breakfasts as possible this year. I have the greatest of respect for the speakers, as it is not an easy gig. I thought that getting David Marks MBE, in September, was a very impressive catch. Designer of The London Eye and planned Brighton i360, a wonderful speaker, whom I listened to not from a business perspective, but through sheer interest."
Paul Griffiths, Lighthouse Financial Advice
"A stand out event for me was Breakfast at Carluccio’s on 11th November with Tim Jarvis from SeeThat Media as guest speaker. Tim shared, with humour & charm, the journey travelled over the past couple of years during which he established his video production company. He spoke of his commitment to produce outstanding work with pride and passion. He re-affirmed my belief that all business, irrespective of sector or size, is dependent on good people; their belief in a shared vision, integrity, and the ability to trust and work together to make it happen. Thank you Chamber. Thank you Tim."
Jan Burgess, Educast Limited
“The Chamber’s Inspirational Breakfasts at first sounded a bit formal and intimidating, but my initial fears were dissolved as I quickly realised I was amongst a relaxed, approachable group of local business people. I'm now a regular at these events and enjoy the variety of conversation, the support from like-minded people who understand the challenges I am facing with my own business and the exchange of ideas and experience. From attending Chamber events, I've learned a lot about the businesses in our City and, importantly, they’ve also learned about Green Mop.”
Racheal Hughes, Green Mop Ltd
Brighton Digital Festival