Directory of Dorset business networking groups [Updated 2020]

People networking at WPCC

Dorset enjoys a thriving business networking scene - both online and in person. Networking can be an incredibly powerful way to grow your business. I update this list every few months. If your group should be on it, get in touch and let me know.

 

A list of business networking groups in Dorset

 

#Dorsethour, every Monday, 7:30-8:30pm, online

An informal gathering of Dorset businesses that takes place on Twitter every Monday, from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. To join in, get online from 7.30pm on a Monday, search on the #dorsethour hashtag and start joining in the conversation.

Learn more about Dorsethour

 

AFC Bournemouth Business Club, various

AFC Business, AFC Bournemouth's free to join business club, offers opportunities to attend networking events and functions throughout the season​.

Learn more about AFC Bournemouth business

 

Athena Dorset, various

Structured networking for women in business, part of the Athena Network. There are three groups in Dorset, meeting in and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Ferndown.

Learn more at Athena Dorset Facebook Page

 

Basepoint Networking Hub, various

The Basepoint business centres host free networking events, which are open to any local firms. In Dorset these can be found in Bournemouth and Weymouth.

Learn more about Basepoint Networking Hub Bournemouth
Learn more about Basepoint Networking Hub Weymouth


Beaminster & District Business Chamber, various

There is not much information available about the Beaminster Chamber online, and different sites offer different contact details. If you're interested in this Chamber I recommend looking it up through a search engine.

Learn more at Beaminster Chamber of Trade website

 

Beach Walk Talk, every fortnight, 9:30am, Bournemouth

One of the few networking groups that encourages children and dogs! In small groups those attending walk along the prom in small groups, discussing business challenges, successes and journeys in the fresh air and sea breeze before swapping groups and heading back.

Learn more at Bournemouth Biz Beach Walk Talk Group

 

Bizzy Networking, monthly, 9:30am-11:00am, Weymouth

Networking and support group for smaller business - particularly sole traders and those working from home. Very informal, making it ideal for people not familiar with networking. The group is run by us at Sprida!

Learn more at Bizzy networking webpage

 

Blandford Business Club, every other Wednesday, 7:15am-9:00am, Blandford

The main aim of this group is to build contacts and to refer business among themselves. Keen to attract new members.​

Learn more at Blandford Business Club website

 

BNI, various

This is a referral marketing organisation, with only one person per trade or profession per group. There are a number of BNI groups across Dorset.

Learn more at the BNI Dorset website

 

Bournemouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce, various

Breakfast meetings, training events and more from this large and very reasonably priced networking group.

Learn more at Bournemouth Chamber website

 

Bournemouth Property Association, various, Bournemouth

Property professionals operating in Dorset may find this group useful for staying informed and for networking. They run a variety of breakfast, lunchtime and evening events.

Learn more at Bournemouth Property Association website

 

Bridport Business, 2nd Tuesday, 6pm, Bridport

According to its website, the Bridport Chamber of Trade & Commerce has around 60 members.

Learn more at Bridport Business Chamber website

 

Business Breakfast Club Bournemouth, various, Bournemouth

One of the longer established networking groups, running since 1993. Despite its name, it also runs events that are not breakfasts!

Learn more at Business Breakfast Club Bournemouth website

 

Business Hive, every Friday, 7:00am-9:00am, Portland

This weekly networking group meets on the Isle of Portland. Membership is restricted to one of any type of business.

Learn more at Business Hive website

 

Cornerstone Networking, every 3rd Thursday, 9:00am-11:00am, Ringwood

This friendly, informal group meets on the far east of the county, at Ringwood. It gathers for a late breakfast at the Spinnaker Sailing Club.

Learn more at Cornerstone Networking Facebook Page​

 

Creative Women in Business, once a month, Bournemouth & Poole

With monthly meetings in the Bournemouth and Poole area, this describes itself as 'a supportive space for creative women to meet, share, get support and inspire each other in developing and building our businesses'.

Learn more at Creative Women in Business Facebook Group

 

Dorchester Chamber for Business, various, Dorchester

The Chamber for the county town has group has around 100 members and holds a monthly networking breakfast, along with other events in the area. From time to time in holds joint events with other local Chambers.

Learn more at Dorchester Chamber for Business website

 

Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, various

The county Chamber has over 700 members. It runs a busy programme of events, including free 'Meet the Chamber' activities which showcase what's available to members.

Learn more at Dorset Chamber of Commerce website

 

Dorset Entrepreneurs Network

A support and networking group run by local business owners to help entrepreneurs develop themselves and their businesses through collaboration and partnerships.

Learn more at Dorset Entrepreneurs Network Facebook Group

 

Dorset Food & Drink, occasional

A not-for-profit membership organisation open to any Dorset business which produces, serves and sell local products, along with others which celebrate their connection to the county and its producers. Occasionally runs events.

Learn more at Dorset Food & Drink website

 

Dorset Food Network

This is an online hub for Dorset businesses in the food industry - producers, services and venues.

Learn more at Dorset Food Network website

 

Dorset Growth Hub

Government-funded business support organisation that runs seminars, workshops and other events across the county, all of which present useful networking opportunities.

Learn more at Dorset Growth Hub website

 

Dorvil, 1st Friday, 7.15am-8.30am, Evershot nr Dorchester

This business networking group meets high on the hills between Dorset and Somerset. The name reflects that the venue is midway between Dorchester and Yeovil.

Learn more at Dorvil Business Network website

 

Dynamic Women in Business, various, Bournemouth and Christchurch

Holds two or three meetings each month. Has no membership fee as it operates on a pay as you go basis.

Learn more at Dynamic Women in Business website

 

Early Bird Business Exchange

An independent, Sherborne-based group of business owners.

Learn more at Early Bird Business Exchange website

 


East Dorset Business Network, monthly, Ferndown

Informal, pay as you go breakfast event open to anyone involved in business.

Learn more at East Dorset Business Network Eventbrite page

 

Elite Business Women Clubs, various, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

These clubs set themselves apart from other networking events by limiting membership to professionals, and holding meetings that are timed, structured and strictly commercial. There are two groups in Dorset, one in Bournemouth and Christchurch, the other in Poole.

Learn more at Elite Business Women Clubs website

 

Federation of Small Businesses, various

The FSB represents small businesses across the UK, and holds a number of meetings across Dorset.

Learn more at Federation of Small Businesses website

 

Ferndown Business Network, every Friday, 7am, Ferndown

A weekly networking group based in the Peartree Business Centre. Highly focused on referrals, with only representative from each trade or profession.

Learn more at Ferndown Business Network website

 

"Fore" Business Bournemouth, monthly, 7.45am, Bournemouth

Based around golf, "Fore" Business has groups across the UK. The Bournemouth branch, based at the Knighton Heath Golf Club, has been running since early 2015.

Learn more at Fore Business Bournemouth webpage

 

Jelly, various

An informal co-working event for freelancers, home workers and small/micro business. A chance to work, chat and collaborate with other small business owners. Free except for refreshment charges. Described as co-working rather than networking, it seems a like a great opportunity to meet others.

Learn more at UK Jelly website - use Find a Jelly to see Dorset locations​

 

Leading Edge, monthly, Poole

This Poole-based group, founded in 2010, meets monthly. It prides itself on high integrity and trust, and membership is restricted.

Learn more at Leading Edge Business Networking website​

 

Lemur Link Up, Poole

This business networking group was set up by busy mums and it's open to all. Meetings are held at Lemur Landings soft play in Poole.

Learn more at Lemur Link Up webpage

 

LinkedIn Local, various

Face-to-face networking opportunities based around the popular business social network, LinkedIn. A number of these events have been run in the Bournemouth area. Unfortunately, there's no central point online for keeping up with them.

 

Lyme Bay Ladies

Offline and online networking for women based on or near the West Dorset coast. This group offers various levels of membership.

Learn more at Lyme Bay Ladies website​

 

Lyme Business Network, twice a month, Lyme Regis

This is a referral-based group, which means it's only open to one member per category of business. Meets for a breakfast twice a month.

Learn more at Lyme Business Network website

 

4Networking, Verwood

This national networking organisation seems to only have one group in Dorset at the moment.

Learn more at 4Networking website

 

Network Dorset, every Thursday, Dorchester

This is an independent referral networking group that meets weekly in Dorchester. As with other referral groups, it's limited to one person per business category.

Learn more at Network Dorset website

 

New2Business Networking, monthly, Bournemouth

There's a clue in the name - this group is for people with little or no networking experience. It's run in East Dorset (Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch) by Outset.

Learn more at New2Business Networking webpage

 

North Dorset Business Group, monthly, Gillingham

Networking for businesses in the north of the county.

Learn more at North Dorset Business Group Facebook Group

 

ONLE Networking, Bournemouth and Poole

ONLE networking claims to have eliminated the less valuable elements of networking to create a method that delivers results. Operates across Dorset and Hampshire.

Learn more at ONLE Networking website

 

PHP Dorset, monthly 6.30pm, Lansdowne

A community for those interested in the PHP programming language, or web development in general.

Learn more at PHP Dorset website

 

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Poole Business Owners Community

This is a free Facebook based group for business owners in the Poole area.

Learn more at Poole Business Owners Community Facebook Group

 

Purbeck Network, fortnightly, Purbecks

Focused on the Swanage and Wareham area, this referral network only accepts one business per business category.

Learn more at Purbeck Network website

 

Pure Networking, occasional, Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole

This group holds a small number of events each year. There's no membership, just pay as you go.

Learn more at Pure Networking website

 

Shaftesbury & District Chamber of Commerce

This north Dorset Chamber of Commerce runs networking events from time to time.

Learn more at Shaftesbury Chamber website

 

Startup Grind Bournemouth, occasional

The Start Up Grind network inspires entrepreneurs across the world. Its meetings are based around an in-depth interview with a successful entrepreneur.

The Bournemouth group is on Twitter as @startupgrindbmth

 

Successful Women in Business, various, Bournemouth & Poole, Dorchester, Weymouth

Growing and active series of groups across the local area, which also runs a conference, hosts awards and produces a magazine.

Learn more at Successful Women in Business website

 

The Boardroom Network, monthly, Bournemouth

Membership of this group is limited to the professional sectors and meetings are precision-timed. At the same time, it offers a friendly, flexible way to meeting like-minded contact.

Learn more at The Boardroom Network website

 

The Breakfast Board, monthly, Bournemouth

Easy-going and inclusive gathering of like-minded owners and leaders of businesses of all types and sizes, to network and share ideas and experiences around a different key topic each month, all led by an expert guest chair.​

Learn more at The Breakfast Board website

 

Verwood Business Chamber of Trade

The Verwood Chamber of Commerce is inactive, although someone will respond to messages sent to their Facebook page.

Learn more at Verwood & District Chamber Facebook page

 

Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, 1st Tuesday, 7.30am-9am, Weymouth

WPCC organises a monthly networking breakfast at various local venues, along with running other events for organisations in the Weymouth and Portland area.

Learn more at Weymouth & Portland Chamber website

 

Weymouth Business Exchange (WEBX), most Tuesdays, 7am-9am, Weymouth

This is a referral-based networking group that has one member per trade or profession. Meets three times a month for breakfast in Weymouth Pavilion Theatre, and it follows a format similar to a BNI meeting.

Learn more at Weymouth Business Exchange website

 

Wimborne Minster Chamber of Trade & Commerce

The Wimborne Chamber offers occasional networking opportunities.

Learn more at Wimborne Minster Chamber of Trade webpage

 

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Andrew Knowles at Sprida

About the author

Andrew Knowles

Andrew Knowles is a founder and director of Sprida. He is a social media trainer and writer who is passionate about helping businesses communicate their message clearly, using the most appropriate channel.

 


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