In one of the first issues of unLTD this column talked about the best and worst bits of networking events.

It was done from a position of having attended many different forums and enjoying some while finding others a bit of a waste of time. You may recall quality of food being a deciding factor in some cases too…

So, it was with some trepidation that we at unLTD organised our first event earlier this summer to coincide with the launch of our fifth issue.

Having set ourselves up as the arbitrators of what makes a good or bad networking event the first thing we did was dispense with the term ‘networking’. It was to be a social, because, that sounds a bit friendlier and less business-like.

Strange, maybe, from a business publication but our ethos has always been that there’s more to life than work as our frequent guides to the best bars and restaurants across the city region will attest to!

The event took place in the downstairs lounge at Virgin Money in Sheffield city centre and was attended by almost 50 people.

The focus of the evening was ‘business rejuvenation’ with unLTD cover star Chloe Watmore, Managing Director of Thermotex, Greg Majchrzak, Managing Director of Tufcot Engineering and Director at Benchmark Recruit Louisa Harrison-Walker all speaking about how they have rejuvenated their businesses.

Both Chloe and Greg were even better speakers than we could have hoped for. Quizzed by my co-editor Phil Turner both spoke passionately about their businesses and how, as relatively young MDs, they had to overcome initial reservations from staff and customers about the relative lack of experience.

Louisa then provided some great insight into the recruitment market before wiping the floor with me at 10 pin bowling!

We wanted the event to be useful to people and the feedback we got has confirmed we judged it just right. The venue (and food) were also excellent.

The next unLTD social has been pencilled in for November – more details will be made available as and when but drop me a line if you’d like to be involved.

Universities’ impact cannot be underestimated

It’d be a reach to describe Sheffield as a university city in the same way people recognise, say, Oxford or Cambridge but there is no doubt about the impact both institutions make on our lives.

The most noticeable is, of course, when the students return in September to either begin or restart their studies.

However, the universities are also major employers and land owners within the city, so their reach extends far and wide. Their presence has changed the face of the city centre making previously derelict areas once again vibrant.

This autumn University Centre Rotherham opens its doors for the first time – let’s hope it has a similar impact.

Anyone feeling festive yet?

It’s inevitable that September has a back to school type feel to it. The holiday season, which really begins at Easter, is long and provides challenges for businesses with people quite naturally taking time off to be with their family.

The next couple of months always seem to be conducted at full throttle with everyone’s batteries fully charged and the chance for projects to be given plenty of time to come to fruition.

Don’t worry though, Christmas is just around the corner. A mulled wine and well-done to the first person who emails me with the first festive display in a shop or business.