Businesses across the Island are preparing to get networking again. Diaries are out and the IW Chamber team are making plans, in-line with government schedules, to begin the process of unlocking networking events.
The Chamber’s business breakfasts and networking lunches will be back as soon as restrictions are lifted and businesses will be able to look forward to the return of the Chamber Expo, the Island’s biggest networking event of the year.
“It’s been a long, hard year and we are looking forward to being able to meet in person again,” says the Chamber’s CEO Steven Holbrook. “The business community, particularly in an economy like ours, relies on networking and the exchange of ideas and opportunities. Since the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the Chamber has adapted and we’ve been providing regular networking forums on Zoom, including vital forums with the Island’s MP, Council and Visit Isle of Wight. We certainly haven’t been idle and in some ways the new digital networking has enabled us to be more reactive than ever. Many of these new digital initiatives have proved so successful that they will stay with us after lockdown has been lifted.
“That said, there’s no substitute for eye contact and informal networking. We look forward to a time when it is safe for us all to get together again. The government’s roadmap is a positive step forward, not least for the tourism and hospitality sectors which have been hit so hard. Of course the dates are provisional and nothing is carved in stone, however there is a real appetite and desire from the business community to be able to get back to meeting up face to face.”
The Chamber events team will announce dates for the new events in the coming weeks, with Business Breakfasts set to return from May. The Chamber is exploring a Cowes Week event, with the Business Expo currently pencilled in for Autumn.