Simply Networking Manchester events launched in 2003, known back then as Netwotking4Busness. At that time all networking events around Manchester, like other towns and cities, were formal, we saw a gap on the networking scene for something a little bit different.
The very first networking event was in Prestwich in North Manchester, from a standing start the event sold out and to this day there are business relationships and indeed friendships, still ongoing from it. The group established quickly with lots of business being passed around and within a short space of time a second networking group followed, this time in Didsbury in South Manchester. Quite a few from the Prestwich group joined Didsbury too, as they were getting good amounts of business from the events. The events continued to sell out.
These networking events had two sections, the first hour sitting boardroom style, where everybody got an opportunity to introduce themselves, with the second hour of the event moving to an open area where everybody simply mingled, chatting freely with each other.
Feedback from regular attendees said that they much preferred the second half of the event so we made the decision to use that style for the full duration of future networking events. Today’s Simply Networking lunches are based around this format.
Introducing a strapline of Lets Do Business With A Smile we placed the emphasis on having fun and at the same time doing business, breaking away from how networking had traditionally been seen. Rakesh Rawal, the CEO of Codex, which boasts a celebrated list of speakers at their events, commented how Simply Networking had revolutionised networking.
Simply Networking became known for its relaxed, friendly and fun nature whilst business got done, with No membership fees, commitments or pressure, the events taking place in more of a social than business environment. Now well established as Simply Networking the events grew in size, moved to the ciy centre, with larger and larger venues needed as the events kept growing, with a record attendance of just short of 200 at The Midland Hotel. To cater for the demand Simply Networking Extra was introduced, these a smaller version of the main events with a maximum of 40 people at each. All this was despite lots of similar events springing up around Manchester.
Networking Events Manchester
With all other networking groups meeting at 7am or over lunch we made the decision to keep the events within the 9 to 5 working day, most taking place from 3pm to 5pm. Although business orientated the events had a social feel. We decided to run an evening event in what was Tiger Tiger in The Printworks. These quickly established themselves too, ran quarterly, attracting 120 at each. Starting around 6:30pm, people arrived, chatted and mingled at the bar, an hour in the buffet was declared open and that point the live entertainment began. Over the years this included everything from a former guitarist from The Shadows to a string quartet. All created a great ambiance to network in. After the food and entertainment, it was then into the venue’s VIP lounge for the keynote speaker with the event rounding off as it began with lots more mingling and chatting at the bar, usually into the early hours!
The last few years, whilst maintaining the informal and friendly vibe, the events have converted to lunchtime networking. Roving from venue to venue each time, those attending get to sample different cuisines, in different locations whilst having fun gaining new business.
Over the years we are proud to have held the very first events at The Point at Lancashire County Cricket Club and at the AJ Bell stadium, both events in facilities before they officially opened. Other prestigious venues we have hosted events at include iconic hotels such as the Midland Hotel Manchester, the Principal Manchester and the Lowry Hotel plus the following, to name a few:
- Manchester City Football Club
- The Museum of Science and Industry
- The Bridgewater Hall
- Lancashire County Cricket Club
- The Manchester Cathedral Visitors Centre
- The Manchester Monastery
- Yang Sing
- The Lowry Theatre
- Concorde Conference Centre
- University of Manchester
- Manchester Arena
- Manchester Art Gallery
- Grosvenor Casino
Other venues we have used which you wouldn’t associate with business networking events include:
- The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre
- Daytona Go Karting
- Odeon Cinema
- Ordsall Hall
Plus many bars and restaurants.
Over 17 years of running informal networking events, the original no nonsense networking, in different guises, the emphasis has always been on making business development fun and with no commitment or pressure. Like many businesses, in March of this year, we fell off a cliff edge due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Undeterred we have moved the events online, all of which to date have sold out, receiving approaching 200 testimonials from just 14 events