A number of people have asked me about networking events in Brighton, so I thought it about time I drew up the shortlist of events that I attend. Some of these I visit regularly, some I’m less familiar with now, but all have their own strengths and are likely to suit different dispositions. I’m sure there are tons that I’m missing (these are, for the most part, just ones I’ve managed to reach in my limited time freelancing), so if you’d like to suggest more please do so in the comments, or contact me:
Where to find networking events
My list below is a small selection, so to find the events that will work best for you I’d suggest regularly checking events listings as well. These are my main places to search:
Wired Sussex Events calendar: primarily for business; it’s effectively updated, with a lot of information and very handy layout.
Meetup Brighton: packed full of listings for events in all areas, not just for networking, worth checking often.
Eventbrite: also covering all areas, you can whittle down searches to the subject you’re interested in. Eventbrite is often used by networking groups to provide tickets (even if free), so it can provide a good catch-all search.
Brighton Chamber of Commerce events: now with a calendar akin to Wired Sussex’s, the Chamber puts on occasional excellent events for non-members, and regular member events. I’m not currently a member myself, but all the events I’ve been to have been well worth it.
The Joy of Business networking list: when I started out, Julia Chanteray’s round up of networking groups was very useful to me, so be sure to check that too. I don’t know how regularly keeps it updated, but it is still useful.
Networking Events in Brighton
The following are the events I have experience with and would recommend for various reasons:
Open Coffee: my personal event of choice, this is an informal and friendly Thursday morning group, run by very helpful and knowledgeable hosts. Mostly geared towards digital startups (and currently being relaunched with ambitious missions), you’ll still find a fairly rolling mix of people here.
Brighton Social Media: run by David Somerville of Fresh Egg, this group puts on monthly meetings on Thursday evenings with two speakers and networking opportunities around them. With free beer.
Creative Brainstorm: meeting fortnightly on Wednesday evenings, this group has a round-table set up where businesses can ask and answer questions to help each other develop. A helpful format, with plenty of room to get to know other businesses communally.
Third Friday: the first event I attended and one I still enjoy, meeting on Friday afternoons in the pub with a very informal, light atmosphere. Now under new management, Third Friday is expanding and, I’m sure, becoming even more useful.
The Farm: the most regular meeting on this list, this freelancer’s group gets together in the pub every Wednesday. Informal, with a good sense of community, but heavily geared towards technology.
Glug: big and bold events, mostly for art-types, with a lot of booze. These come along quite sporadically, so you need to look out for them to get a chance of attending.
LikeMind: meets on Fridays for a casual coffee at Marwoods. Friendly, casual and arty. At least it was very eclectic when I attended.
Juice Breakfast: the only breakfast event I’ve regularly dragged myself to, Juice FM put on a casual, sometimes entertaining breakfast with good food at low prices. Nice for a more relaxed (and generally well-priced) take on the formal ‘dining’ networking style.
Business breakfasts don’t otherwsie generally appeal to me, though there are plenty more out there. If you’re into the more formal business breakfast style networking, also consider the BNI, the Brighton Breakfast Club, and the Chamber’s Business Breakfasts.
Un-Networking: meets the evening of the first Tuesday of every month at The Merkha Bar (MyHotel, down by the Jubilee Library). Un-Networking have a unique approach of no business cards, no suits – generally creating more of a social environment.
Brighton Curry Club: meets on Tuesday evenings, with a big old curry buffet. Like the breakfasts, the meal is a bit formal for my tastes – although there’s plenty of room to mingle before the meal. The Curry Club is a large event, and one of the best in Brighton for a wide range of local businesses, but it hasn’t endeared me due to rising prices and their rather unwelcoming attitude first time I tried to attend (too many copywriters, they said, though you’re unlikely to ever be able to talk to a fraction of people at the event).
As I noted above, also check the events calendars and listings for more specific interests and less regular events, and do please let me know of any network events I’ve missed – or am missing!