The network’s first event was organised by Peter Surridge and Alan Sawyers, owners of Ridgetek Web Solutions and AS Design respectively, in partnership with County Councillor Gordon Stewart.
The event was fully booked within 48 hours of being announced and was held at The Spetchells Centre on Prudhoe Front Street on Monday, February 5.
It came on the back of the launch of a successful business magazine for the area in 2023.
Alan, whose business AS Design launched Prudhoe Business Magazine last April, added: “We created the magazine as a project to help get businesses talking and shouting about their successes.
“After the first issue came out we were approached by several businesses who wanted to be in the second issue, which came out in November.
“We met the owners of several amazing businesses that are like hidden gems of the North East and we really want to help them tell the rest of the region that they exist.”
The event included updates around business funding and support from Chris Dawson, who works for Advance Northumberland’s NSBS (Northumberland Small Business Service) programme and appeared in issue 2 of Prudhoe Business, and Susan Snowdon of NEL Fund Managers.
Alongside Gordon, Peter, Alan and AS Design’s Nathan Cockburn, other attendees who have also featured in the magazine included Prudhoe Community Partnership’s Caroline Warburton, estate agent Kirsty Hodgson, The Pudding Parlour’s Kristy Gilbin and Bill Card of CCS Products and North East Gifts. The magazine’s photography Gavin Forster was also in attendance to capture the event.
Peter and Gordon have collaborated previously, alongside community teams such as Prudhoe Community Partnership, on several local initiatives, including Visit Prudhoe.
Peter said: “The aim of Visit Prudhoe is to help promote local businesses and organisations, share local events and activities via the Visit Prudhoe website and social media, and encourage people to visit Prudhoe and to spend money in the town and surrounding areas such as Stocksfield, Mickley, Wylam, Ovingham & Ovington.
“We have tried to get local businesses networking together in the past but it’s often difficult to get commitment from busy business owners.
“However, I know first-hand, as a B2B business owner where you don’t have the luxury of passing trade, the importance of getting yourself out there and networking even if it isn’t your thing. The power of working collaboratively to increase footfall across Prudhoe is the best way to support the local community.
“That’s why we felt the time was right to try and create a business network for the area.”