As providers of flexible, collaborative workspace where dynamic entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-ups can work together and progress, we’ve been to quite a few networking events in our time, but the Bristol Business Brainstorm was quite different.
The Bristol Business Brainstorm – an innovative platform for entrepreneurs to meet up and talk through their ideas, challenges and opportunities runs on a monthly basis in the heart of the city.
Unlike the usual ‘drinks, nibble and a chat – style’ business networking events, the Bristol Business Brainstorm has a format with a difference. It invites three entrepreneurs to present their ideas or to discuss the particular issues they’re facing and the group works together to brainstorm ideas and come up with solutions.
Our social squad went along to the 11th April meet-up at Dom’s Coffee House from 7-9 pm to see what it was all about.
We were immediately impressed by the cross section of people there – around 30 entrepreneurs from all walk of life and a number of different industry sectors. We passionately believe that you can learn much from people outside your immediate business circle who, on the face of it, appear nothing like you; But we all have similar dreams, goals and challenges and by working together and supporting each other, we can succeed.
The evening kicked off with a bit of networking, followed by an introduction and update from fellow entrepreneur Jason Nichols, founder of New Kings Coffee.
The first entrepreneur to present to the group was Ed Gwynne-Harris. He’s launched Giftmybet, the first online platform which allows you to purchase a bet as a gift for someone on a special occasion and send a physical gift card with a betting slip which is delivered straight to their door.
Ed was looking for advice on approaching funding and very quickly, hands were shooting up around the room offering tips and advice on securing funding and building an online community. Ed also revealed that he is planning on launching a crowdfunding site soon, so lots to look forward to in the coming year!
The second entrepreneur up was Jeanna Olsen – founder of vegan face and body painting business Wild Thing.
Jeanna was seeking input and ideas from around the room on monetising her business during the off-peak season, which is generally outside the popular festival period during the summer months.
Again, there was lots of advice on offer and the general consensus was to promote the multiple services she offers from face painting experiences and quirky fashion to therapeutic body art workshops. She was also urged to look into acquiring a patent for the unique formula of her vegan face paints and to investigate the potential for white-labelling.
Last but by no means least, were two Bristol artists launching Art Battle Bristol, a live painting competition with 12 local artists competing to win and a chance to take part in the international final taking place in 2019.
They wanted advice from the group on attracting sponsorship for their event and how to build their brand following the competition. Once again, the assembled entrepreneurs were quick to offer their expertise and insight. They also advised that doing some market research and testing the concept with the local community and the Bristol art scene would be vital to their success.
We can’t recommend the Bristol Business Brainstorm highly enough if you are looking for the chance to meet, mingle and learn from like-minded entrepreneurs in an open, informal and supportive network.
The Business Brainstorm is held on the first Wednesday of every month and all you need to do is join the Meetup group to find out about their upcoming events.
The next brainstorm is on the 9th of May at Dom’s Coffee House from 7-9 pm and costs just £2 per person.
If you can’t make the next one, check out our very own business networking and events programme and start making more contacts with ambitious entrepreneurs and businesses in the Bristol area.