Small Business Networking Group builds opportunities

A group of small business people from New South Wales’ Central Coast region refused to let a funding hiccup ruin a good thing, forming the hugely successful Central Coast Small Business Networking Group (SBNG).

The group initially came together under the Federal Government’s Small Business Answers Program; however, when funding was pulled five years ago, local business people felt that the group was too good to fall by the wayside.

As a result, each member contributed some money and formed the Central Coast Small Business Networking Group. Currently the group is over 100 members strong and meets 42 times per year for networking breakfasts at venues across the Central Coast.

Speaking at the recent AGM, SBNG Chair, Bob Fitzgerald noted that,

“SBNG members were a very special group of business people. There are 10,000 active businesses on the Coast, but less than one percent of business owners and managers are members of a business group like SBNG or a business chamber. Surprisingly, most Central Coast business people don’t network with other business people to get the benefits of collaboration.

“The beauty of SBNG is that we are completely apolitical, we cover the whole of the coast, and it’s just $75 per year to be a member of SBNG, which meets 42 times a year,” said Mr Fitzgerald.

“The regular breakfast meetings usually consist of a guest speaker who provides members with good business information, followed by networking time during which members can discuss what’s happening in the marketplace.

“Unlike business referral groups, the focus of SBNG is on establishing and building relationships, sharing information and business tips, and providing a space where members can discuss some of the challenges of running a business.

“I would say that SBNG is more of a collaboration group than a referral group. Collaboration is about building mutual business opportunities and that’s a win-win situation,” concluded Mr Fitzgerald.