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New ‘Social’ event will bring Lancashire businesses together


A new networking event, Social, launches in Preston in July aimed at bringing professionals and creatives together.  We spoke to Chris Hunter founder of HM Network, a Boost & Co member, about what inspired him to organise the events and what’s in store.

Chris, tell us a bit about how you got into running your own business in the first place?

Me and my business partner Martin founded HM Network after we were faced with redundancy. After much soul searching we both decided to take a leaver’s package and pursue what we’d wanted to do - working for ourselves.

However, with this new freedom comes an element of panic. You’re now fending for yourselves which, while exciting, can be a tad nerve-racking.

 Fortunately for us, we attended an event on Preston Flag Market that was demonstrating the help and advice available to new businesses from the likes of Boost. This set off a chain of events that got us plugged into several business support initiatives. Once you get in the system you hear about other support that’s available.

Is this what inspired you to start the Social event?

Yes. Since working with Boost, HM Network has had many a door opened leading to new ventures. But the lesson we learned was getting ourselves in the right circles to begin with.

Everyone needs help and support in some way or another from time to time. We wanted to give the same benefits to all and create a relaxed social event, where people could chat, collaborate, get help and advice, and open up new opportunities for one another. That’s where the idea for Social came from.

Why are events like this important?

Forging new relationships is vital to small businesses. We find that talking to people from businesses outside our own, often blinkered, field helps us open our eyes and take a fresh perspective on things.

I will admit, I have always been a bit of a social butterfly. I’m lucky to have a varied range of connections in areas that don't naturally come together, but this has benefitted us as a company. Being able to bounce ideas off someone or to be able to talk to somebody who has been there, done it and started a business really helps.

What can people who come to Social expect from the event?

The event is held at Fives on Guildhall Street, Preston. It’s a stunning building that has recently reopened and we thought that the top floor offers a great space for hosting a get together.

Social will be a relaxed networking event that brings professional people, whose paths may not normally cross, together. It might be professional people, university people, digital and creative people, financial people, arty people, or musical people, hands-on people. Above all it’s aimed at people who want to grow and make things happen and who are passionate about what they do. The event is free. All we ask is for people to bring plenty of business cards, ideas and an open mind.

The first Social event is on July 5 in the Masquerade Bar on the third floor at Fives between 5pm and 7pm. It’s completely free and people can register on the Eventbrite page.


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