Posted on

Like Minds Business Breakfasts featuring Oli Barrett

Like Minds Business Breakfasts 310517 oli barrett audience

Oli was one of the team behind Startup Britain and pinched the idea for Tenner, which has been used extensively by Young Enterprise, from a vicar… the Lord works in mysterious ways 😉

Like Minds is the inspiration of Drew Ellis, a guy who had a really cool early career, designing album covers for A&M and Island Records back in the early 80’s, it all went pear from there!

Like Minds Business Breakfasts 310517 Drew Ellis

Drew finds people who are inspirational and brings them together for a moment in time and magical things happen…

How you fixed for September 29th?

Like Minds Business Breakfasts 310517 dan pritchard

Dan Pritchard and the team from Astley Media are keeping the warm up events on track, today was part of a series of monthly breakfasts where we get to meet one of the keynotes lined up for the 29th…

like minds food pictureOli shared his modus operandi which is essentially to find some really smart people to do all the admin and then front things up and go off and find people to talk to… better still, he loves getting asked to be the “host with the most” at events and conferences which then allows serendipity to pour in from all four corners of the universe, not forgetting those bonus levels of consciousness…

That’s how Lord Young introduced him to the chap who asked him to get StartUp Britain started… told you the Lords work in mysterious ways 😉

Like Minds Business Breakfasts 310517 Oli Barrett

How’d that happen? Best get along on the 29th September and ask him yourself… or hook up via LinkedIn, he’s open to opportunities which is the secret of his success… and he’s a good egg…

Thank you.

07717 820823

Posted on

Makes you WannaCry, super tech saviour from Devon!


Did you know the guy who spotted the “kill switch” in WannaCry virus that is spreading panic in the hearts of IT Managers around the world, Marcus Hutchins, is from Ilfracombe… must be growing up in the Devon air that makes him so smart!

I asked Martin Crockett from East Devon IT for his thought…

The systems that were affected were mainly older systems that were not being maintained. With regard to the NHS, they paid £5.5million to Microsoft to keep support for the systems but they ditched it a couple of years ago despite warnings.

This highlights the importance of having a proper maintenance routine and a company such as EDIT watching your back.

Would you like to discuss your IT systems with Martin?

Let me know…

Thank you


Posted on

Business @ Breakfast Networking Wed 3rd May, Exeter… are you registered yet?


The next networking meeting for business@breakfast in Exeter will be at the Mercure Southgate Hotel on Wednesday 3rd May.

We will be meeting for some great networking and we will also be having a one on one session. If you want to know what that involves then do come along to the meeting.

We will meet at 07:00 in the Lounge Terrace which is just to the left as you go past reception.

Member – Jon Davey, from EX10, will be giving a short presentation as part of the meeting. The presentation is entitled “Your Marketing Plan sealed with a KISS”. Some simple steps you can take way with you on the day.

This is your personal invitation to join us at the meeting this coming Wednesday. So that we can get the numbers right and your breakfast ordered, please reply to this email confirming your attendance. The meetings are always quite busy so please book early. I do hope to see you there.

Why not share in business referrals from businesses in and around Exeter in a warm welcoming environment at our vibrant networking meeting? As always there will be ample time for networking with fellow business people, making new contacts and creating opportunities for business to be done. If you wish to participate in these opportunities please come along. It may seem early but you’ll be setup for the day by the end of the meeting.

We meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning and guests are always welcome, but please let us know if you are planning to come along so that we can cater for numbers. You will be guaranteed a warm welcome and the entrance is just £10, so why not come along?




When & where do we meet?

Day – Wednesday 3rd May (and fortnightly)
Time – 07:00 – 08:30
Venue – Mercure Southgate Hotel, Southernhay East, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1QF

Parking in offered at the Mercure Southgate Hotel on a first come first serve basis, so pick up your ticket on entry. You will then be given a token to put into the machine on your way out. There is also plenty of alternative parking nearby should you need it.

More about Business@Breakfast

B@B was formed to provide a structured environment where business referrals can be passed, without the burden of diktats from head office and without the overhead of being run by an organisation that itself needs to make profit.

We also recognise that within networking groups there is a varied level of experience and we actively encourage the sharing of that experience and create a nurturing atmosphere for this to take place.

Essentially then we are; structured and targeted, affordable, welcoming and nurturing plus we currently have three branches, one in Exeter, one in East Devon and one in Mid Devon. You can normally (competitive proviso) attend all of these branches if you wish under one membership.

Membership is open to every type of business, although to avoid competition and to maximise the benefit to members, only one member of each type of business or profession is allowed within each branch. This is not a hard and fast rule and wherever possible we are flexible in our approach on this and other matters. This is demonstrated in several instances where we have members from what appear to be identical professions, working happily alongside each other. We will always search for a solution rather than turning potential members away.

Reasons to join:

  • Be introduced to and get to know other local businesses
  • Promote your business or service to the local business community and to receptive audience
  • Win new business through referrals from fellow members
  • Attend interesting presentations from guest speakers and members
  • Enjoy networking in a relaxed environment which is closed to your competitors
  • Learn and develop through shared experiences of other members
  • Benefit from having your business profile on our website
  • Take part in our showcase events and invite your prospects

You can find out a little more on our website

Email us at or indeed by all means call us on 01392 908000 and we can talk you through it.

Posted on

Who knows what opportunities Business @ Breakfast will bring today or even tomorrow?


Martin Crockett and Sandra Wright prepare for this morning’s Business @ Breakfast networking event at Fresha on Sowton Industrial Estate, reflecting on what might be…

You never know what you’re going to find when you attend a breakfast networking event… but it starts well if there are a bunch of friendly faces to welcome you, especially at 7:00 on a dark winter morning!

I’ve known Martin for a few months and appreciative of my story telling abilities he invited me to become Business @ Breakfast’s Group Marketing Executive… well who could resist that title and the salary package… what there is none! Are they breaching a European regulation or two? Best ask Jacqui Cousins…


Jacqui’s runs Belvedere HR and funnily enough was talking about exactly that after the individual 2 minute presentations everyone gives as part of the networking breakfast.

Her presentation was very interesting to those who employ or are thinking of employing people… to hear that in France the regulations are even tighter than they are in the UK when it comes to trying to dismiss someone who isn’t cutting the mustard… especially when it’s grapes they are suppose to be harvesting!

All joking apart, Jacqui is happy to offer a FREE initial consultation, face to face or over the phone, to determine if she can offer a solution to your HR problem, call her 01392 688659.


Business @ Breakfast events start at 7am, an informal chat with other attendees over a nice warming brew. And is wrapped up by 8:30am so business owners can get to their first appointment without interfering with the normal working day.

(Talking of being warm, Business @ Breakfast’s charity this year is the YMCA Exeter… don’t forget to join in / sponsor their Sleep Easy event on 4th March 2017.)

Meeting up with other business owners on a regular basis has many benefits, some of which are:

• It can be lonely peddling your own canoe and it helps to be around like minded individuals.
• Meeting on a regular basis builds relationships. People do business with those they know, like and trust.
• Group members become your extended sales force. When they hear about an opportunity then they can pass it over to you if they know what you do… and trust you can deliver.

When Sandra announced my new “executive” role I explained that what I needed was the group’s help to capture their stories because it is from that energy that others will be attracted to come and visit.

Ian Smith from Winning Tenders was first to put his hand up…

Business @ Breakfast meet at The Deer Park Country House Hotel, Weston, Honiton EX14 3PG every other Tuesday and at Fresha Café, Sowton Industrial Estate, Exeter EX2 7LP every other Wednesday.

If you’d like to know more then simply phone 01395 493000 or email

Thank you.

07717 820823

Posted on

East Devon Business Initiative raised £800 for The Project


EDBI‘s charity project for 2016 was The Project in Axminster who support young people on the path to better mental health.

I’d been invited by Elaine from BuzzMM to visit EDBI breakfast networking event at Woodbury Park Hotel & Golf Club. They were a very welcoming bunch and invited myself and another guest to tell the group a little about ourselves to kick things off… so refreshing, the last time I attended a BNI networking breakfast the last thing they wanted to do was hear from me, especially after!

Mark Rhodes & I said our piece, then Debbie Humberstone from The Project shared the great work they are doing… with plans to open in Sidmouth…


The Project is committed to supporting and improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people, age 12-24, as well as providing support to the parents and carers of young people experiencing mental distress.

Then it was time for our cooked breakfast… marvellous!

After breakfast the regulars shared what’s been going on in their worlds over the last week… no bells were rung and every story was told with a smile…

April Rose chaired proceedings and finished by drumming up interest in the Mayor of Exmouth’s Charity Ball on 4th March for Alzheimer’s Society.


Good crowd… I hope to be invited back 😉

Thank you

07717 820823

Posted on

Getting to know you at #TechSouthWest Science Park Exeter


Monday while working on hooking up with directors in Exeter who like rugby for the Rob Baxter dinner…


I bumped into Tech South West’s latest event…

But it was happening Tuesday morning… I had a 11am meet lined up with Alistair “Hound Dog” Briggs… wella, wella, wella didn’t want to miss either so I took prompt action… called the event organisers, all was good Jon from Blur Group said “That’s All Right” mama 😉

I got there a tad early as the nipper had a test and wanted to get to school by 8:45am… I figured I could have a tour of the Science Park Centre before the main event. You can just pop in and use the cafe for a meet up, alternatively join the Canope Club if you like broccoli!


Got talking to Toby Parkins from headforwards who it transpired was one of the speakers, talking about keeping talent by respecting the individual & their needs. Obviously well read, or at least he’d learnt a bunch of book titles which he threw out to the crowd in a thoughtful, none arrogant way.


Top bloke… loved his future vision drivers and the fact he runs his own tech festival “Agile on the Beach”. I’m getting a bit ahead, he was the 4th speaker but hey, you have to be agile in this virtual world…


Dan “The Engine” Pritchard was the host with the most whose tweet it was that got me to the event.

He’s a PR man with a bunch of bling at Astley Media from his professional body the CIPR … but was he Social Media Week’s Social Media Personality of the Year in 2012 … nope that was me 😉 He did a grand job of keeping the event on track, ensuring I was able to get out the door and let the dogs out before my next meeting at 2pm in town.


Philip Letts Chairman of Tech South West and CEO of blur Group painted the picture for those, like me, who were new to the area or just not aware of the scores on the doors.


Almost 11,000 companies employing over 125,000 people on the tech sector in the South West… there’s some dots need joining up here to get them all singing from a similar hymn sheet and it appears to me this team have the energy if the companies have the inclination and can see the advantage of being part of the Tech South West community.


Nick Sturge who leads the way at the Engine Shed… obviously Bristol Uni came up with that name after a meeting with Dan a few years back! Nick talked about joining the dots and his experience of bringing teams together… complicated process, especially if everyone is looking for a slice of the IP or a European box to tick for funding… it’ll be interesting to see how Brexit impacts on these organisations or if indeed it will… maybe the Chinese will just buy all the Universities, especially if their top scientist are just down the road… assuming Trump doesn’t get in first of course???


Dr Tim Paulden took us back to school sharing a glowing report, top marks for his Sixth form where they specialise in Maths. Not being a straight A student I was wondering where this was going and then he brought up the slide about the companies that had set real world challenges for his students… now that resonated with me…


With my Rotary hat on I ran the “Youth Speaks” competition in Windsor until we moved south… loved that… if kids can present to a group of 100 people, doesn’t really matter if they get an O Level was my thing, they will have the ability to be self sufficient… obviously if they can combine that with a fist full of GCSEs and A Levels, all the better.


Tim mentioned the “Building Our Industrial Strategy” Green Paper which was also brought up by Nick, so maybe we should download and digest… worst case it will help you sleep at night!


Tim was followed by Dan whose quality of life slide smashed it… crime rates, what crime rates when compared to London!


And this beautiful infographic brought some superfast broadband light into the room for the next bit, the round table sessions…


How can Tech South West best address its priorities for 2017?

  • Joining the dots – building a better connected South West tech sector
  • Simply the Best – showcasing and celebrating our tech successes
  • Teach Tech – promoting the importance of teaching STEM subjects to aid tech growth in the South West
  • Tech Transfer – supporting greater commercialisation of our regional research
  • Tech Talent – attracting and retaining top tech talent


Interesting discussion around the table with everyone having a different take on what was needed based on their life experience and vested interests at this time… always the way… as someone once said to me, “Ask 12 solicitors and you’ll get 13 different opinions!”


For me it’s about hearing stories from people who have done something well… like David Cook at The Donkey Sanctuary… be that economically or with more of a community focus… this helps inspire our thinking and can help us all move forward.


Only those making the pounds, dollars or yen can choose how they spend / invest it… chasing government money is not the way in my opinion…

Let’s hear more from those who have made some moves and those with great ideas that need sharing so they can shine brightly too 😉

Thank you Tech South West for a most interesting morning and I’d best join the community >>>

Jon Davey
07717 820823

Posted on

Rattling doors on industrial estates


When I was a lad there was no choice… no internet to give you the inside leg measurements of local businesses… you had to get out and knock a few doors.

Moving to Sidmouth in June I was busy with a big project but that finished in October… a few bits and bobs in between but I felt the need to get out and see what results door knocking would produce.


My new Rotary Club has a big event at the end of February at Sandy Park, Rob Baxter is hosting a charity dinner dance, so I led with that, giving out flyers and the response was very positive.

I also handed over my business card explaining that I can help with sales & marketing, rattling a few doors or creating a website / blog… a few showed real interest so we’ll see what results.

ex10 blog twitter header contacts

In business you need to try every route to market, it’s the only way to determine what works best for you and this is going to change from product to product and also on the geography… folks up in London need most things yesterday… most folk I bump into these days are happy with tomorrow 😉

Loved this sign…


See you at the Rob Baxter dinner…

Thank you.


Posted on

Digital Exeter Meetup… join & make the next one…


Last night I got along to my first Digital Exeter Meet Up Event and was made to feel very welcome.

If you’re in the digital space or want to be, then make sure you get along to the next event, join the Digital Exeter Meetup Group to find out when that is.

Last night there were four keynotes of around 20 minutes each followed by networking… never ceases to amaze me how many folk just wander off after the presentations… that’s not how you get to know people!


You need to just stick around, especially if you are a techie geek with a brain the size of a small planet who prefers a darkened room… someone will say hi and they are more than likely to connect you to someone they know who would find your skills useful… so next time, take a breath and just hang, you don’t have to make the first approach 😉

First up was Laurence Oakes-Ash, ACMA of Exeter City Futures who made a big impression, talking about the number of heart beats we have and relating this to our body mass with the implication that an elephant lives longer than a hamster because it’s like way calmer but also BIG… I can see the McD ad now! A man of significant financial experience judging by his LI profile… need to interview him for a feature me thinks…

He was followed and many would say out shone by Tom Moore from Stephens Scown Solicitors who smashed it with a talk on IP… such a typically boring topic was brought to life by Tom’s sense of humour and legal understanding which ensured plenty of questions from the audience post Brexit 😉

Collette Easton, had two great acts to followed but rather than talking BIG numbers (Lawrence with heart beats, Tom with potential European fines of £20,000,000!) she simply swept their talks away by demonstration those that can do… she’s exited a couple of businesses successfully and had the handbag to prove it… so when she started talking about her latest marque the Molecule Agency we were all keen to hear what she had to say…

Last but not least Tony Harbron, Marketing Director at Ashwoods Lightfoot got us thinking how we might save a few quid on our insurance while enhancing our driving experience and probably slowing our heart beat down a touch so we live a little longer… should have asked if it blocks your reg from those pesky mobile speed cameras… that would boost sales me thinks 😉

I’m loving the variety of ways these guys are engaging with social media to create some noise… follow them on Twitter to find out what’s next for this nifty little gadget…

What a great bunch of speakers, each holding their own and making for a most interesting evening… well done the team at Exeter Digital Meetup for arranging this for the digital community.

Next up was networking which for me lasted 90 minutes and being the last man standing with Richard Vout (who needs to turn on his profile link on LI… unless of course he’s applying one of Tom’s new data protection policies!)

I spoke to a dozen or more people and only one had a card… or was it just me 😉

Thank you to everyone for making the evening a most enjoyable one… see you next time…


Posted on

Devon Chamber of Commerce Networking Lunch


This Monday morning started with me following up on last week’s networking events and then off to Woodbury Park Hotel & Golf Club for a Devon Chamber of Commerce Networking Lunch at 12pm.

80 local business people booked in for lunch… time to meet some new people, say hi to those I’ve recently met and one I’ve known for years, Ian Smith of Winning Tenders who got a mention last week, following him down a couple of years after he headed south from Berkshire.

I was on table 4, headed up by Chris Menlove-Platt in his role as a Director of Devon Chamber, whose first career had been in the Royal Navy, leaving as a Commander… now an NLP trainer, he loves nothing more than helping people make the most of themselves.

Next to him was a beacon of light in the form of Shirley-Anne Fison who is looking to get Veterans Change Partnership charity status and raise £200,000 to help ex soldiers find their feet after a tour of duty which may have left them finding it difficult to re-engage with “normal life”. You can help…


By buying 5 of their Christmas cards all the money (less ebay fees) will be going to add to the £25,000 already raised. Have you got your Christmas cards yet? How many do you need >>>

Chaz Lawrence was seated to my left… in the energy space, IU Energy look after those with hefty energy bills and can save you a few thousand pounds a year which you can invest elsewhere.

Need Moor Training? Speak to Andy Pollard if you’re interested in “Plumbing & Gas” Apprenticeships or a career change into the “Health & Social Care” arena.

Kim Glover blends helping a partner in a legal firm with being the founder of Exeter PA Network… so if you are a PA looking for some friendly faces to share your thoughts with or to learn some new skills then you’d best give Kim a nudge.

Nathan Yendle has also just landed from the big city, offering full marketing agency services under the Priority Pixels brand.

Elaine Saunders had us all a buzz with her mobile marketing services… the coupon angle to this makes particular sense to me, rewarding customers who invariably will be carry a mobile!

Jerry Barnes, partner at Hoare LEA is working on ways on keeping our England team all nice a cool at the Qatar2022… you’ll have to ask him how 😉

Jane McNamara finished the circle with a spin of the wheel from Crème de la Crème fun casinos…

Andrew Holland wasn’t on the table but did give a short presentation on the Effectus coaching & development.

This is a rather whistle stop tour of my table and with another 6 to network with, it might take me some time to get to speak to everyone else but I wanted to get this story scribbled before the day was over!

Thank you Devon Chamber of Commerce for a great networking lunch. See you at another down the road…

Thank you.

07717 820823

Posted on

A Warm Welcome from EX10 Business Networks


This week I attended 4 networking events in as many days and received a very warm welcome on all occasions.

Originally from Yorkshire, when I moved to Windsor 20 years ago they thought me mad to be saying hello to folk as I passed them in the street… who is this nutter was the vibe!

Sidmouth and the East Devon area have made me feel very much at home with their warm welcome, this my first week out networking locally… thank you.

Monday evening I attended the Sid Valley Rotary meeting at The Blue Ball Inn. I like Rotarians because they are givers by nature. Looking for ways they can help their local community without the need for any big round of applause! I joined 20+ Rotarians for a fish dinner and learned what they are getting up to. Black tie Christmas dinner at The Harbour Hotel, that sounds like fun… and then the Rugby Dinner in Feb… happy days 😉

Tuesday morning it was time for an early session with Business at Breakfast out at the Donkey Sanctuary so I could finally see where all that 4am eeyore was coming from… not that the odd donkey noise anyway competes with an Airbus landing at Heathrow! Nice bunch, all helping each other grow their various businesses… great full breakfast too 😉

Wednesday lunch it was time for Sidmouth Rotary lunch club at The Riviera Hotel, a swanky hotel on the sea front. Again, great bunch of folk who get involved with raising money for local charities while having a jolly good time…

Thursday it was Exmouth Means Business at Exmouth Community College, organised by Exmouth Chamber. As well as some of my new business associates there were a couple of blasts from the past in the house. Ian Smith of Winning Tenders who moved down from Buckinghamshire a couple of years back and Peter Preston of Fresh Results who followed / preceded around the same time!

After years trying to get lift off around Berkshire, Ian is now employing others full time… let’s hope some of that magic rubs off on yours truly.

Today I’ve been thinking through the conversations I’ve been having this week and formulating a strategy for EX10… thank you to all who have engaged and been so welcoming this week… let’s get this new show on the road…

Thank you.

07717 820823

P.S. Pictures are from my previous life… Gavin Bains at Reading Business Expo and a Windsor & Eton Rotary event at The Guildhall (where me and the Mrs got married!)