As supporters of Forever Manchester, GM Business Connect have always enjoyed a close relationship with the charity, promoting their business affiliated activities and reporting on many of their business-themed events and promotions. Paul Mirage from GM Business Connect is also an Ambassador for the charity.
Over recent years Forever Manchester have promoted a regular monthly business networking event – First Friday – taking place between 4-6pm on the First Friday of every month. This was always a great way to end the week. Based in iconic venues across the City Centre, the event was always a laid-back approach to networking. Very grass roots – very Mancunian – a networking ethos that was aimed at businesses that were strong on the idea of community support, and very proud to wear their own CSR credentials, yet were happy and confidant that networking with like-minded businesses was a natural way of showcasing their own businesses.
This was always right on the money with GM Business Connect, who as a magazine not just covered the events editorially, but fully supported business engagement. Connecting businesses was and still is our prime concern.
As a charity Forever Manchester are constantly looking for new methods of getting their important message out to the business community, and when First Fridays took a back seat to the many fantastic activities that the charity have been championing, GM Business Connect wasted no time in suggesting we take over the event – this time with the added support of our extensive business network.
There have had to be a few changes. We now charge £15 entry. This goes to providing the very best in hospitality for those attending, as well as the purchase of a Forever Manchester tombola ticket on entry which features some great prizes including overseas holiday breaks.
Our ethos is still the same as previously – that is to attract the very best calibre businesses to network on a regular basis in the heart of Manchester City Centre.
There are no long speeches or talks. The event is 2 hours of pure business networking, with a short break for a business card draw and a few words from Forever Manchester. We are very clear that the emphasis is on networking, also on raising the profile of Forever Manchester as Greater Manchester’s premier vehicle for a very Mancunian approach to CSR.
So, the inaugural new ‘supercharged’ First Friday Connectworking event took part on 1 June at Artisan restaurant in the heart of Spinningfields. The soft launch was a fantastic success, with over 70 businesses attending. Manchester Three Rivers Gin Company provided free Gin and Tonics for the attendees, and the business card draw featured a meal for two and a free bottle of wine for Lunya Spanish Restaurant, a classic Concorde tour for two at the Runway Visitors Centre, a bottle of Navy Strength Four Pillars Gin, plus 500 free business cards from Minuteman Press in Altrincham.
As well as the draw there was an auction for dinner, bed and breakfast for two provided by Hotel Football, which raised a further £140 for Forever Manchester, plus Artisan provided free pizza for all the attendees (to soak up the free Gin!)
July’s First Friday Connectworking event also took place at Artisan, following the winning formula of the inaugural event. Free Gin and Tonics were again available, as well as pizza and the chance this time to win a 3 Course Dinner and bottle of wine at 20 Stories restaurant in the business card draw. Also featuring as prizes were a bottle of Champagne from Halecroft Recruitment, and a quality bottle of Red wine.
Another highlight was when Jean Mills from Forever Manchester spoke for a few minutes about the charity, Danny Franks from Hudson Hill Consulting, and an Ambassador for Forever Manchester, presented a cheque for £2,500 raised from Tour de Manc for Forever Manchester.
Both events were notable not just for the hospitality and the chance to support Forever Manchester, but for the quality of businesses attending.