A couple of blogs ago, I shared some top-tips for starting out in business networking. To follow on, I thought it would be useful to put together a list of places to put your skills into practice, right here in the North East! 

As well as where to find out what events are happening, and which areas of the NE you can find them in, I've also given a bit of guidance as to the style of networking the different organisations offer. 

Remember - give as many as you can a go to find out what you enjoy most. When you enjoy networking you're more likely to relax and be yourself and that's the quickest way to build effective corporate relationships. 

NetworkersBest for…StyleLocationCost

Sunderland Software City & Digital Catapult NETVTech, digital, creative, businesses exploring techRelaxed, pizza & beer, educationalAcross the North EastFree

The Mussel ClubSME's, start-ups, blue-chipRelaxed, informal, open networkingSunderland, Newcastle, Darlington + other within NEFree to join and free breakfast event

Digital UnionBusinesses, digital & creativeInformal, explorational, relaxedwhole North EastFree

North East England Chamber of CommerceStart-up, blue-chip and policyMix of informal, educational & structuredWhole North EastMembership and mixed event cost from free-ticket depending on the event

Business DurhamStart-up, blue-chipMix of informal, educational & structuredCounty DurhamMix

BNISME's, blue-chipStructured weekly breakfast/lunch; industry exclusivity per chapterAll over the worldMembership plus usually a breakfast/lunch fee

Network B2BSME's, blue-chipStructured, but little more informal, weekly breakfast/lunch; industry exclusivityAll over NE and furtherMembership plus usually food cost

4 NetworkingStart-up, SME'sStructured but quite relaxed breakfast/lunch weekly meetings; industry exclusivityAll over the UKMembership plus usually food/drink cost

The Inspire NetworkWomen's events, start-up, self employed, SME'sSupportive, educational and inspirationalAll over the UKMembership

North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC)Start-ups, SME'sInformative, relaxed, helpfulCentre's based in Sunderland & DarlingtonFree - event dependant cost

Sunderland Business NetworkSME's - blue-chipMix of styles, relaxed and supportiveSunderlandMembership + event dependant

Forward LadiesWomen's networkingTraining/educational, informative, relaxedAcross UKMembership + event dependant

RTC NorthStart-ups, SME's, high growthMix of educational, training, relaxAcross NEEvent dependant

Entrepreneurs ForumBusiness owners, foundersKnowledge sharing, supportiveAcross NEMembership - criteria to join

IoDDirectors, CEO'sKnowledge sharing, educational, policyAcross UK with NE communityMembership + event specific

Curry Club NewcastleAnyone and everyoneMonthly networking over lunchNewcastleCost of lunch

UniversitiesSME's to bluechips, academics and studentsKnowledge sharing, educational, engagingNewcastle, Sunderland, Northumbria, Teeside & Durham Uni'sUsually free - event dependant

Design Network NorthDigital, creative, techHost regular 'Rise & Design' relaxed and educationalAcross NEMembers + event dependant

Exclusive BusinessBusiness owners and larger organisationsInformative speakers, knowledge sharingMostly Newcastle + NEEvent dependant

North East Referral NetworkingSME's, blue-chipStructured and regular commitment to eventsAcross NEStanding order but not membership

Deliberately DifferentSME's, blue-chipStrugtured, regular mixed with training/educationAcross NEMembership + event dependant

CIPR North East

Choice Networks



The Hub - Washington

Creative Fuse - CAKE


PR professionals

Start-ups and SME's

Tech, creative, digital

IT practitioners

Start-ups and SME's

Creative, tech, digital

SME's - bluechip

Educational, knowledge share, relaxed networking

Structured but relaxed

Annual conference, awards, workshops/dinners

Four annual meetings

Informative, relaxed, helpful

Innovation challenges, relaxed, knowledge share

Educational, social, knowledge share, relaxed

Across UK

Across NE

Across NE

UK with NE division


Across NE

Across NE

Membership + events open to non-members

Pay as you go



Free + event dependant cost

Free + event dependant

Membership + event dependant