Network Central wins Business Champion 2022 Award for Covid success against the odds
Champions in Crisis 2022 awarded for resilience and quick thinking in the pandemic.
Network Central, the new home of 4Networking, the national business networking organisation with Face to Face groups in Stockport, Astley and Didsbury after Easter, and Greater Manchester online founded by motivational speaker and entrepreneur Brad Burton back in 2006, has won the National Champions in Crisis 2022 Award at Canary Wharf’s East Wintergardens on Wednesday 23rd March. It won the award for its resilience and quick thinking when its core face to face operations were decimated by the Covid-19 outbreak.
History of the network
4Networking’s turnover went from £2m to £0 overnight as its 5,000 nationwide meetings each year 12 groups in Greater Manchester and Cheshire, 4 of were run by myself, were immediately cancelled as a result of restrictions and lockdown. Moving fast, meetings were moved online, the first business networking organisation to do so, and a new platform, Network Central, was created, both for business appointments and community support.
In the early days I ran 7 online meetings, now I run 1 online and 2 Face to Face meetings, with more face to face meetings planned for the future.
4Networking was started in 2006 by entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Brad Burton to provide friendly, informal networking for business people around the country. It grew to become the biggest business networking organisation in the UK, with over 5,000 weekly meetings. When these were cancelled overnight by lockdown the network moved online to Network Central and now operates both online and with its trademark face to face events.
Everything happens for a reason, and it doesn’t always make sense, until it’s in your rear-view mirror. We’ve had to start from scratch in a way, but with the previous experience of building a business against the odds – people said 4Networking would never work when I started the organisation in 2006 whilst delivering pizzas at the weekend to keep it afloat. We were almost driven out of business by Covid and winning this award is testament to everyone who stuck with us and supported us to get through this most difficult period. It’s indicative of a new dawn for UK SMEs in general. Ironically, two years to the day that Boris Johnson first told us to stay home, we won this award. We really did get through it. Together! – Founder Brad Burton
Who we were up against
Network Central was nominated against brands such as Insignia and Mercedes’ AMG and DPD UK, and was presented with first place by BBC News at Ten presenter Huw Edwards. Ironically, Founder Brad Burton was unable to attend after testing positive for Covid the day before, but Directors Terry Cooper and Jen Hinds accepted the prize.
“Network Central was more crucial than ever for businesses in Greater Manchester and Cheshire as the pandemic struck as being able to network online and receive business and moral support was the only way to survive it for many. We’re so pleased that it has come out of the other side and now we’re able to meet face to face in venues including Bredbury Hall and The Point at Astley again. Well done to all involved for winning this award.” – Rachael Chiverton
Who knows what the future holds for business networking, however I am super proud to be part of this award winning network and look forward to more business and social networking meetings, both on and offline launching in the near future.
A few weeks ago I ran the FIRST EVER 4Networking truly hybrid meeting, with the Founder Brad Burton presenting, called a 4Sight, from his home in Somerset due to Covid, to our attendees at Bredbury Hall.
If you would like to get involved in helping launch any meetings then please do get in contact with me.