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We held our annual Thank You dinner for our Entrepreneurs in Residence this week. It was at the beautiful and elegant Bowcliffe Hall with drinks in the Drivers Club and dinner in the Ballroom. Over 50 of our Entrepreneurs in Residence and members attended and the food was brilliant, as befits Yorkshires most successful entrepreneurs.

I said a few words at the beginning, mainly about the changes we have introduced since the last Thank You dinner 12 months ago, and as they are all innovations I thought I would blog about them.


In 2017 we introduced a new format for our Masterclasses, with a panel of 2 or 3 of our Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) discussing a business subject such as Growing the Top Line or Marketing and Social Media and answering questions from me and the attendees.

Towards the end of 2017, we asked our members whether the preferred this format or the previous one of one of our EIRs telling the story of the downs as well as the ups of building their business. Guess what, 50% preferred one and 50% the other. So we are doing both in 2018, as you can see from our upcoming events.

Speed Networking

Worrying that some of our members may be the shy and retiring type, historically the networking has been turning up at our Masterclasses and trying to talk to whatever other members were there, we have introduced Speed Networking, the next such event is on 1st Feb.

Each attendees have 3 minutes on a 1 to 1 basis to tell the other attendees about their business. The first event was last year and the 26 attendees left exhausted at 10am after a 07:30 start!

Ladies Lunches

Our Operations Director Sophie Patton started these and they have been a great success. Attended by roughly 25 ladies, they insisted that they did not want a sponsor for the lunches but preferred to pay for it themselves so they were free to talk without feeling beholden to anyone.


The men struck back with Connect Yorkshires’ first ever golf day. Although not exclusively a mens sport, as it turned out the players were all men. It was played at Rudding Park and was sponsored by one of our Partners WPA, the men not being sensitive to having a sponsor!


Sophie and I have lots of plans to further improve our offer to our members and become even more the hub of business in Yorkshire.

Nick Butler