Here's a useful list of the business networking opportunities in Dorset.
If you spot something that's wrong or missing, please get in touch.
Click here for a list of quick links to groups in Bournemouth and Poole.
[email protected] Networking is a small networking group based on the Ferndown industrial estate, which has been meeting every week for over two years. Membership is limited to one person per trade or profession but visitors are welcome from across Dorset, or even further afield. About 20 people attend each meeting. Find out more from their website or their Facebook page.
Basepoint Networking Hub. The Basepoint business centres host free networking events, which are open to any local firms. In Dorset these can be found in Bournemouth and Weymouth.
Beaminster and District Business Chamber run networking breakfasts every other month at venues around the Beaminster area. For details go to the chamber's website. (However, the site was not operational when checked on 15 July 2014).
BNI "BNI is the world's leading word-of-mouth marketing and networking organisation" says their website. They have various branches in Dorset including: Christchurch, Dorchester, Weymouth, Wimborne. Read about BNI networking in Dorset.
Bournemouth Chamber of Trade & Commerce. Breakfast meetings, training events and more from this large and very reasonably priced networking group. Discover more benefits on their website.
Business 4 Bridport (B4B). This group runs on the same principles as BNI, that is, only one member per business sector is permitted. It meets every two weeks. More information is available from the group's website.
Business Breakfast Club. This group is based in Bournemouth and meets twice a month. According to its website there is a small annual membership fee and each breakfast costs around £10.
Business Golf Network. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this relatively new networking group is only open to golfers. It currently has four branches across Dorset and Hampshire. The two in this county are in Bournemouth and Poole. General information about BGN is available from their website.
Business Women's Lunch Club Poole. Running since 2000, it meets at the Storm Fish Restaurant for networking, presentations and a buffet lunch. The club boasts a very professional website.
Cross Networking, Poole. This Dorset networking group offers two levels of membership, one with five informal meetings a year, the other with a weekly referral breakfast. It seems to be a combination of a loose networking community and the highly structured approach offered by groups such as BNI. Find out more from their website.
Dorchester and District Chamber of Commerce. This group has around 100 members and holds regular meetings. You can find out more from their website.
Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry. While it covers the whole county, in practice the majority of DCCI events happen around the Bournemouth area. We hear that new Chief Exec Ian Girling wants to broaden the Chamber's appeal across the county.
Dorvil. This new meeting aims to connect businesses in Dorchester and Yeovil. Breakfast meetings are held at the George Albert Hotel, Evershot, Dorchester, on the first Friday in every month. For more information, visit this website.
DJC. This group no longer functions.
Dorset Marine Network. This group seems to have ceased functioning, as its website only lists events for 2013.
Dorset Professionals Group. An informal group set up in 2011 with a focus on social activities. Intending to meet quarterly in the Weymouth, Dorchester and Bridport area. Contact: [email protected] 01305 755640
Dorset Women in Business. The name says it all, really, and I can't go because I'm a bloke. Meets severl times a year in Boscombe, Wimborne and Christchurch.This is not the same organisation as WIBN (Women in Business Network).
Early Bird Business Exchange. Founded in early 2013, this independent, Sherborne-based group meets every other week. Find out more from their website.
East Dorset Business Network (EDBN). Meets twice a month for a 7am breakfast. There's a bit more information on their website.
Federation of Small Businesses. The FSB has two groups covering the county: Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch, and Rural Dorset. Both groups have access to meetings under the wider Wessex events calendar.
Lemur Link Up. This business networking group was set up by busy mums and it's open to all. Meetings are held at Lemur Landings soft play in Poole. Find out more here.
Meetdraw. Informal networking group for Dorset-based creative types involved in digital publishing. According to their website that includes developers, designers, marketeers, SEO writers, journalists, entreprenaurs, students, PR experts and copywriters.
4Networking. This national networking organisation has groups in Bournmouth, Poole and Ferndown. For more information visit their website.
The Renaissance Club. This group seems to have ceased operation.
Rural-Net. The successor to Rural Dorset Business Club, this networking group now seems to operate as a series of ad hoc workshops, provided by WSX Enterprise. For more information visit the website.
Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce. Or WPCC to its friends and members. Meets once a month for breakfast overlooking Weymouth Harbour, at the civilised time of 8am. The breakfasts are now reaching capacity, so book early. Website here.
Women in Business Network - South and South West. Part of the national WIBN organisation, the network has Dorset groups in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Dorchester and Poole. This is not to be confused with Dorset Women in Business (although that would be an easy mistake to make).
Young Executive Club. Since 2009 this group has been providing networking opportunities for up and coming professionals. It's not clear from the website how often it meets or what membership criteria might be.
For more information about business networking events in Dorset being run by WSX, visit www.businesseventsindorset.co.uk/
We also have a list of all the Chambers of Commerce in Dorset here.
For inspirational Dorset business start-up stories, click here.
Page last updated: 16 July 2014