Leading national business membership community B4 held its official launch at Hencote Vineyard and Restaurant in Shropshire at a special champagne event on the summer solstice.
B4 is renowned as the biggest and most successful business community in Oxfordshire, and it is now replicating its success by launching in Shropshire, and then with B4 communities across the UK from this Autumn.
Founded in Oxford in 2006 by Richard Rosser, an entrepreneur with an extensive background in business management and publishing, members of the group are actively introduced to other key decision-makers at lavish events in prestigious settings.
On Tuesday, 21 June, representatives from 10 B4 Shropshire founding member companies, were joined by Oxfordshire members, as well as specially invited guests including The High Sheriff of Shropshire, Mrs Selina Graham.
Opening the event, Richard Rosser welcomed guests and thanked B4 Business Development Manager and Shropshire Area Director, Victoria Charnley, for planning the successful launch and bringing together so many key businesses in the community.
The High Sherriff, Mrs Selina Graham, welcomed B4 to Shropshire.
“No matter what your role is, or your business, or charity, networking is critical to success,” she said.
“The strength of your network can make or break your search for talent, your ability to acquire new customers or business partners, get referrals or new ideas.
“I feel very relevant being here to welcome B4 in Shropshire, being the modern High Sheriff is all about networking too. It is an opportunity to enhance the impact that our voluntary sector has on our communities,” she added.
Following the champagne reception, representatives from Severn Hospice, B4 Shropshire’s inaugural charity of the year, were presented with a cheque by Russell Griffin, Co-Director at Samuel Wood Estate Agents in Shropshire, one of the B4 Shropshire’s founding members.
Head of Fundraising, Elodie Holme and Head of Income Generation Tracie Harrison, accepted the cheque with Tracie saying: “Connections are really important to us so a huge thank you to B4 for choosing us and to Samuel Wood for this generous donation.
“We have two hospices in Shropshire, and we look after 3000 people a year, many of whom we support at home. We rely on local communities to support our work and we are all about working together.”
Mr Griffin said: “I was at a recent B4 Shropshire lunch event, and I heard a speech about the charity. It resonated with me and after speaking to my business partner, we decided to donate some funds set aside for charity to the Severn Hospice.
“It’s such a worthwhile charity and it looked after my own father 15 years ago. The wonderful people made the last days of his life so comfortable. It’s all about collaboration, one plus one equals three and we are happy to support the hospice.”
Victoria Charnley, said: “I am thrilled that one of the first business connections to take place, from just one event, is the generous donation from one of our founding Shropshire members, to our inaugural charity. This demonstrates exactly how B4 connections work.”
Accompanying Mr Griffin was George Harrison from his Shrewsbury sales team who will occupy one of the development seats B4 development seat which have been created to help nurture up-and-coming talent.
Also in attendance were representatives from Shrewsbury Business Park, Telford International Centre, Ask Telecommunications, Nuffield Health, Reech Media, Bespoke Computing, Numonde, Hencote, Team4You, Morris Care, OM Architects, Shropshire Charity Consultancy, Weston Park, Welshpool Printing Group and Wellness Coach Emma Burton who will be involved in wellness and coaching at CEO level.
Oxfordshire members who travelled to the event included Charlie Webb of Troo Hospitality, Emma Easton of Business Bollox, Ian Mundy of You HR and Colin, Sue, and Tina Rosser.
Anthony Scanlon, Shrewsbury Business Park Manager, said: “It was wonderful to meet such a diverse group of people in this wonderful setting. This is the modern way of networking, with ‘old-school networking’ disappearing. The state of business in this county lends itself to this type of event.
“People are finding it difficult to recruit, for example, but talking to people at events like this helps make the right connections. This kind of networking is no longer reserved for the cities. Shropshire is attracting new and innovative businesses and it needs groups like B4 to connect them.”
The organisation will be holding future events in Shropshire’s finest venues and its accompanying website is an effective platform which shares news and views, thought-leadership, opinion and, most importantly, facilitate connections for its members.
B4’s community in Oxfordshire includes the globally renowned Blenheim Palace, Oxford Brookes University Business School, Unipart Group and Owen Mumford.
B4 works by helping members to make informed introductions and connect to the right people. B4 Shropshire members will have instant access to the Oxfordshire community and this ‘cross-pollination’ will continue as communities are launched nationally.
The next launch is planned for Cambridge in October later this year followed by Southampton and Bristol.
In March, founding B4 Shropshire members met at a soft launch at Hencote Vineyard and Restaurant in Shrewsbury followed by a pre-launch, lunch at The Lion & Pheasant Hotel and Restaurant in Shrewsbury.