Network hopes for entire coast

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MORE than 60 business leaders from across the Fylde coast descended on the Village Hotel for the first Gazette and Fylde Means Business networking event.

Business owners from across the entire Fylde coast met for an hour of informal networking at the East Park Drive venue, before hearing from three key speakers at the free meeting yesterday.

The Gazette and Fylde Means Business inaugural networking event at the De Vere Village Hotel, Blackpool. Iain Hawkins (head of Blackpool Cluster-Merlin Entertainments).

The Gazette and Fylde Means Business inaugural networking event at the De Vere Village Hotel, Blackpool. Iain Hawkins (head of Blackpool Cluster-Merlin Entertainments).

The Federation of Small Businesses’ Fylde coast branch chairman Steve Pye told delegates about the power of the 200,000 strong Federation and its humble beginnings in Blackpool.

Tony Brown, of UK Trade and Investment, then spoke about the benefits – and help available – when choosing to enter foreign markets.

And keynote speaker Iain Hawkins, head of Merlin’s Blackpool cluster of attractions, took time out of his busiest week yet – as he prepares to relaunch Blackpool Tower and the new Blackpool dungeon – to talk about the tourism change in the town.

The talks were interspersed with 60 second pitches from businesses picked at random – with representatives of Fylde Office Service Bureau, Northern Monkey, Freshfield, and Kingswood Office Supplies all taking the opportunity to address the gathering.

The Gazette and Fylde Means Business inaugural networking event at the De Vere Village Hotel, Blackpool.

The Gazette and Fylde Means Business inaugural networking event at the De Vere Village Hotel, Blackpool.

Gazette editor David Helliwell said: “We hoped this meeting would be a physical embodiment of our Fylde Means Business magazine – setting out to get local businesses talking to each other, and realising there is a great wealth of talent and opportunity on the Fylde.

“I hope we achieved that. There were lots of people exchanging details and hopefully deals will be done to boost the coast’s economy.”

Immediately after the meeting, Peter Duerden, owner of Grand Prix Experience Tweeted: “The most beneficial networking event I’ve attended in terms of potential new clients and contacts.”