Brand Harrogate, an online business support and networking group that started on LinkedIn in 2009, is to strengthen its role in the local businesses community with the help of a new group of volunteers.
Harrogate business owner Antony Prince, who recently took over ownership of the group from its founder Simon Elliott, said he had enlisted support from some of the 800 group members to help him relaunch the group and reinvigorate discussion and debate.
Mr Prince said the group had the potential to develop into a valuable free resource for businesses in and around Harrogate, providing an open forum for discussion, debate and information.
Antony Prince said:
The group has never had a commercial agenda of its own and it is our intention to keep it this way, expanding it gradually for the mutual benefit of all its members and the business community as a whole.
Brand Harrogate started out with the aim of encouraging local businesses to do business locally and this is still a strong theme but with the loss of free business support via organisations like Business Link and the difficulties facing many businesses in the current climate, we’d like to make it work harder for businesses in the Harrogate district.
This doesn’t mean we’ll be offering our own support services but we will hopefully provide a channel for the resources that currently exist and make it easier for business owners to find the help they need.
We are already working closely with Daniel Harper at Harrogate Borough Council and information from his own LinkedIn group Harrogate For Business will now be shared via Brand Harrogate.
He said Brand Harrogate encouraged positive discussion about local issues and strived to support regional economic growth.
As well as providing a forum for information and an opportunity to share expertise Mr Prince said he hoped Brand Harrogate would become a collaborative voice for all businesses and give members a platform on which to share news and success.
He said the main focus of the group would continue to be online but that occasional networking events may be organised in the future if members felt they would be useful.
Antony Prince added:
We are very keen for members to let us know what they want out of the group and we expect it to evolve over the coming months as a result.