Government Help in Finding Business Contacts
The government wants to encourage business. Successful enterprise adds to revenues, which in turns adds to taxes, and becomes a win-win situation for everyone. So it's in the interests of government to make sure business, especially new business, has the encouragement to make contacts that can help them grow.
There's help on regional, national and international levels, with entire departments dedicated to making sure business can have a smooth expansion - including foreign business opening in Britain. One is UK Trade and Investment.
UK Trade and InvestmentUK Trade and Investment specialises in inward investment - that is, investment in the UK, and as such, offers help to businesses locating or starting here. That can be something simple like advice on where to locate, or help with research, and especially on business contacts.
The department organises its own events, not only in the UK but globally to offer contact with other UK businesses in the same sector. More than that, for any businesses coming to the UK, it can put the owners in touch with people from a range of services, from lawyers to IT people and groups that can partner within the same industry or field.
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory ReformUK Trade and Investment is part of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the major government body for promoting trade. Their website (www.berr.gov.uk) offers useful information on networking in its Business Link section, covering everything from using trade shows to strategic partnering, which are, of course, both forms of networking.
They even have a section for finding contacts, although this is more official than in any way advancing or building business relationships. But it can still prove useful.
Regional Development AgenciesThere are nine Regional Development Agencies in England. They were created in 1988 to help further economic regeneration and development, promote employment and business efficiency. Again, they work with businesses to help them grow, and a part of that is fostering contacts and collaborations - in other words, business networking, and it makes no difference whether the enterprise is large or small.
Yorkshire Forward, which covers Yorkshire and Humberside, has six Virtual Enterprise Networks, for instance, which are open to businesses in the region and set up by industry, each allowing business to share their knowledge and contacts.
Obviously, each RDA wants to promote and push its own region - after all, it's why it was created - but they do offer encouragement and concrete help, often directly supporting business networks within the region.
Also worth consulting is the Government News Network, which offers business news by region as well as nationally, and can keep you abreast of developments in the area.