An evening of insight and connection: Our South Coast Employee Ownership networking event

Our transition to employee-ownership inspired us to start hosting South Coast Employee Ownership networking events. Connecting businesses, sharing insights, and building a supportive community.

Since our transition to employee ownership in 2021, we’ve found that connecting with other employee-owned businesses (EOBs) is invaluable. Sharing stories and strategies for engagement, helping to define roles and responsibilities as a result of new governance, or simply comparing notes on the trials of making employee ownership work in diverse environments helps us all to gain fresh perspectives. These connections and conversations have inspired us to host South Coast Employee Ownership networking evenings and, after two successful gatherings, the impact has been profound.

Why do we host these events?

When we first transitioned we didn’t know any other EOBs, especially not locally. The journey can be daunting and without a rulebook to follow. Whether you’re an exiting owner, employee or independent trustee, or part of an employee-owned team, there are many unknowns and questions regardless of the stage of EO you find yourself in.

Some of the most valuable lessons we’ve learned have come from connecting with other EO businesses. Every new conversation brings fresh insights and a wealth of shared experiences. This exchange is crucial because there’s no single way to navigate the EO landscape.

“These events symbolise a group of local, like-minded organisations getting together in an informal setting to talk, share and celebrate all things EO. As always, there’s no competition and no judgement, but an opportunity to see different perspectives, and discuss how we can all help each other to improve, engage and move forward with positivity”

Harry Pocknell, Strategy & Creative Director

Through networking, we’ve evolved into advocates of a community focused on shared values, principles, and support. This network has served as a valuable platform for exchanging insights, best practices and ideas, supporting our journey and enabling us to enhance our internal processes.

We’re often reminded of the African proverb, “If you want to go quick, go alone. If you want to far, go together”. This feels true for our journey as a business but also the wider EO adventure.

Creating connections

With each event, we witness more beautiful connections within the EO community. Making introductions, seeing new bonds form, and hearing diverse stories are the highlights of these gatherings. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the employee-ownership community growing and flourishing in our area.

“For someone who finds networking a little painful, it really helps being in a room with a group of people who all have some common ground. Conversations tend to dart off on different tangents but our individual EO experiences are a great jumping-off point.”

Jon Lockhart, Head of Design

One of the standout moments from our recent event was Ian Hiscock’s talk. Ian shared his rich experience and offered invaluable advice, providing attendees with practical insights and inspiration. His contributions encapsulate the spirit of our events, a welcoming community where everyone is willing to help.

The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) conference generates a lot of excitement, and it really is something any EO business should attend. But it only happens once a year. By hosting our events throughout the year, we maintain our momentum and buzz, providing ongoing opportunities for both engagement and learning.

What’s next?

We’re thrilled to see our local employee-ownership community growing and thriving, and we look forward to continuing this journey. The South Coast Employee Ownership Networking Events are more than just meetings; they’re about building a community where shared experiences lead to collective growth.

As we reflect on our two events, we’re excited for what’s to come. We look forward to hosting more gatherings, fostering more connections, and celebrating the growth of the EO community.

If you’d like to know more about becoming employee-owned, head over to our Employee Ownership page, or get in touch with us for a chat.

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