Independent businesses from around the North East gathered at Sunderland restaurant Amore, yesterday night, for the first ever live-networking event through the “success” of the hashtag, #sunderlandhour.
The Twitter hashtag, founded by Helen Colquhoun, was launched in March 2013, when she realised there was a gap in the market for #sunderlandhour, after regularly joining in other Twitter chats such as #englandhour and #northeasthour.
Helen said: “There were about 20 people in the first ever chat and it’s just gone from strength to strength. It has become a huge success for only a couple of months and that’s when we started discussing holding the offline networking events.”
The evening began with a chance for guests to meet both Helen Colquhoun and Sue Stott and check out the local exhibitors that attended, such as Gladys Gladrags, Inspire Holistics, Claro Creative and St James’ Health Wealth Management.
One of the guest speakers, on the night, was Sunderland’s own Harry Collinson, the owner of the 33-year-old family-run business, Collinson Jewellers.
He gave a speech on his passion for his business, his home town and his continuous work to improve the city’s business and help others.
The chairman of the Sunderland City Traders Association Collinson said: “It’s an amazing place and a great place to do business; I want my kids to be proud of it. I want them to enjoy the city like I did when I was young.”
Paul Lancaster, author of Small Business Marketing for Dummies and employee of Sage One, also stepped up to give an insightful speech on social media and how it can have a huge impact on the success of businesses.
At the end of the first live event for #sunderlandhour, Helen Colquhoun said: “I just wanted to keep it local and it be a place for people to come to get good advice. I’m really chuffed and there will be plenty more to come!”
The #sunderlandhour chat runs from 8-9pm every Thursday, and everyone, running their business, can join in.#####