The Next Episode for Ruddington Networking

An informal networking event which has been bringing business people together in our village for over eight years has announced another change of venue.

From this month, Ruddington Business Partnership will be meeting a little further along Wilford Road at number six – a slightly more “trendy” venue now called The Next Episode – which is also run by Mark and Sarah Anderson of The Ruddington Arms. Prior to this, it originally started in an upstairs room at Philo’s Delicatessen on High Street.

Shamshad Walker

Event organiser, Shamshad Walker, recalls: “We were very lucky to have Philo’s hosting the events for a number of years. We had to move because the space wasn’t big enough for the number of delegates we were getting. This move will give a fresh venue for delegates that regularly attend and also give people new to Ruddington the opportunity to see what else is in Ruddington as the venue is more central.”

Sarah agrees: “We spoke with Shamshad and decided to move it as we wanted to showcase The Next Episode and let people know what we have to offer from workspace, areas to book out for meetings, private parties, take away coffees and the menu on offer. It also opens at 8am so made sense as we have our team in already. It is free, but the vast majority have a drink. Pastries and tray bakes are also available between 8am and 9am and, after 9am, they can have anything off the brunch menu as our chefs are in.”

“It gives local businesses the opportunity to try somewhere different and, if it helps Sarah and Mark, it is a win-win situation – especially as they have so kindly opened the Ruddington Arms for our events for so many years” adds Shamshad. She says the sessions attract between 20 and 40 networkers each month, representing many kinds of businesses: “All sorts from sole traders to some larger organisations like the Universities, East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, etc. Some are from Ruddington with others from across the East Midlands.”

The fact that these networking events in Ruddington are FREE is because they are part of Rushcliffe Business Partnership – which has the view that there should be no cost to attend. However, delegates know that they can support the venue by buying their own drinks. “This is the approach that has been taken for all the morning networking events since RBP was formed in 1999 – so people buying drinks at The Next Episode is not really a new concept” says Shamshad. “We rely very much on the hospitality of local restaurants, bars and cafes, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to run the networking events.”

She would also like to reassure nervous networkers these sessions are not at all scary! “This is a very informal and friendly group. People attending for the first time often contact me so I am able to talk to them before hand and then welcome them on the day. I always make sure I introduce them to others so they feel comfortable quickly. It’s a great opportunity to meet other businesses that could be potential customers or suppliers. Plus, for those business owners that work from home, it’s a great way to meet other professionals in a friendly environment” explains Shamshad.

Networking sessions at former venue the Ruddington Arms have been very popular

There is no parking immediately outside the new Dutton’s Hill venue at peak times, but delegates are being advised they’re still welcome to park in The Ruddington Arms car park and walk up. “I am hoping being closer to the village centre will encourage more of the local businesses on the high street to attend the events. Plus it allows businesses attending the events to see what is available in Ruddington – which should help the other shops, cafes, etc says Shamshad.

From September 20th 2019 Ruddington Business Partnership’s networking sessions are taking place at The Next Episode on the third Friday of every month except August, officially from 8am until 9am, although often people stay longer. If possible, you’re asked to indicate you’ll be attending via Eventbrite >>HERE<< – but you can just turn up!

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