Catena Network, the specialist business introductions company, is reporting a 44% annual growth in membership despite recent pressures on the East Midlands business community.
The addition of two regional directors for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire has seen an increase in enquiries, recruitment, and networking activity for the company.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, the organisation made over 1050 introductions taking the rolling total of business done between members to £1.6 million. Collaborations have included video work for a new wound-care product and an innovative printer cartridge recycling project.
During the earlier lockdowns, Catena developed a UK-wide online presence with its ‘Beating Business Isolation’ programme of events and meetings.
These subsequently developed into weekly business Soundbite Speaker talks, together with monthly Mastermind, Boardroom Challenge and Leaders’ Think Tank gatherings.
Directors’ Dinners have restarted across the region for senior leaders to share their business experience and contacts.
Catena founder and director Claire Bicknell believes her organisation plays a very practical role in the support and development of companies of all sizes and types.
“Our aim is to find creative ways to make running and managing a business that little bit easier and more productive. We find that carefully considered introductions make a big difference to the outcome of a potential sale or collaboration. Catena members share the same approach and the proof can be seen in the overall growth of the company.
“I am encouraged by the interest from businesses around the UK as well as seeing visitors from France, Germany, Austria, Denmark and, on Thanksgiving Day, from the US. Covid has shown us how to do business differently, and we will continue to learn from this.”
Nottinghamshire regional director for Catena, Andy Middleton, is taking this approach into a new volunteer role for Ashfield District Council. He has been appointed as one of their Business Ambassadors, which involves promoting the area to inward investors as well as encouraging local employment and enterprise.
Andy says: “The Ashfield economy has great potential to grow as attention turns to the development of smaller towns and suburbs where more and more people are choosing to work. There will be greater opportunities for me to bring business leaders in this part of the county together, adding to the impact Catena is already making”.
Lincolnshire regional director Stav Melides will be hosting a series of events in Hull, Grimsby, Lincoln and Louth as restrictions ease and venues open up again. He says: “There is no doubt that meeting in-person helps to build and cement business relationships. That’s why I am launching a monthly lunch gathering in Louth and establishing new groups across the county.”
Claire adds: “We are very fortunate in our two regional directors, and will continue to look for candidates to run Catena in other parts of the UK. The economic downturn has affected the income of many business professionals so I’m glad to be offering this opportunity. What I am trying to achieve with the Network is the ability for UK-wide businesses to grow relationships with each other, developing trust to the point they feel confident to do business together or recommend to others.”