Next Level Networking

Tools, techniques and takeaways to connect with senior leaders and decision makers in your digital business community.

Making new business connections and developing practical opportunities to reach your company's BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) has never been more important then now. However in a world of online PowerPoint presentations, how can new, warm relationships be developed without meeting someone face to face over a bacon sarnie?

In this one off event, we will explore 4 tried and tested ways to develop your skills and digitally network with senior business leaders/decision makers without having to resort to a stab in the dark message on LinkedIn, a thumbs up emoji or a coy 'hello' in a Zoom chat box.


  1. Creative networking - combing arts, culture and social sciences to develop your leadership and communication skills
  2. Thought leadership - taking on a trusteeship to develop you and the community
  3. Peer to peer support - the benefits of group sessions, action learning sets and round tables
  4. Strategic Networking - finding your 'why' and sticking to it.


The event is suitable for owner/managers of SMEs based in Northumberland, Durham , Tyne and Wear who have ambitions to grow, access finance and scale their businesses over the next 3 years.


  • Generate ideas and opportunities to structure your business development plans.
  • Speak with the experts and get follow up feedback/support.
  • Turn plans into action with live opportunities to connect.
  • Explore innovative new ways of networking within the comfort of your own home.


Stage 1

Completion of a survey using an analytical strategy tool via self evaluation or phone call with the FIRST team - 30 minutes.

Stage 2

A detailed, bespoke, strategy report will be sent to you. The report will include a review of your businesses impact, growth, financials, leadership, innovation, support network, marketing, sales, people & skills helping you to shape business plans.

Stage 3

During this invite only community event 22nd April you will explore trending topics in digital networking including inspirational speakers, peer to peer networking and real time, local information to give you the confidence, motivation and tools to succeed -120 minutes.

Stage 4

A follow up, bespoke email from our expert partners NEL Fund Managers - they will assist you with signposting, connections and further information in how to support your new business strategy. This is where we will ask you to sign a form confirming your receipt of 3 hours of De Minimis State Aid - 30 minutes.


Please note, due to the event being fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund, only trading SMEs registered in Durham, Northumberland or Tyne & Wear area are eligible for the 1-1 support & growth planner report.

If you have already attended either our Business Goals event or To Train or Not to Train, you may still attend but we have a limited amount of free tickets.

If you have any questions regarding the event or eligibility, please contact us


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