The way we were: Anna Cosgrove at the Lost and Found with Green Club members before lockdown 
Zooming in: An online meeting of BNI Elite which usually meets at Moor Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, on a Friday morning. 

Midlands ‘family’ business network brings £1.5million of opportunities a month in lockdown

A West Midlands business networking group is paying tribute to its members for their innovation and resilience after they passed £1.5 million a month in lockdown. 

Hundreds of members of Business Network International (BNI) have been meeting in their groups via Zoom each week and also providing support for each other.

Executive director Pete Higgs revealed that around 600 members have passed £4.5 million over the 12 weeks since lockdown.

He said: “Lockdown has shown more than ever that we are like a family. 

“I’m so proud that as a group of dedicated, supportive businesses, we have been able to continue to help each other and to contribute such a significant figure after finding new ways of working was forced upon us.”

Our thanks go out to each and every member for their positivity, resilience and innovation.  It’s been a learning curve for all of us.


We appreciate that many member businesses have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis and we have joined together to help the best we can.


Tim Hammond, managing director of Makes Sense Accountants based in the Jewellery Quarteris secretary-treasurer of the Premier BNI group that usually meets at the Moor Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield.


He said he welcomed new business brought to him while in lockdown through his BNI network.


“I’m surprised and encouraged by the business I have done and have been delighted to see so many guests joining our meetings for free,” he said.


Tim added he had also been able to continue to pass business and had recently identified an opportunity to introduce a BNI colleague to a £6,000 opportunity.


“BNI has been invaluable and our team spirit has been outstanding,” he said. 


Pete added: “By joining BNI you are expanding your network of trusted suppliers, gaining in confidence and meeting like-minded business people who are going through the same experience.

There are now around 30 BNI groups in the Black Country and Birmingham and Coventry. BNI is a global organisation founded in America in 1985. Each group allows one person from a given profession to help members build profitable relationships and avoid conflict.

To find out about what professions are still to be represented and where in the West Midlands BNI groups are held, please contact award-winning BNI Director Consultant Dawn Adlam on 07880 725564.

Quizmaster Steve finds £16,000 of charity answers!

Steve Saul’s day job is organising gala events where sporting legends entertain adoring crowds with stories from their glittering career.

All that ground to a halt back in March but Steve found another way of keeping people hooked in the name of charity. 

He has raised £16,000 so far thanks to regular online challenges.

Steve, of Route 39 had all his planned events called off as lockdown hit.

But instead of dwelling on what might have  been he launched a series of online quizzes with the Kwizzbit app ( where he put together questions on various subjects including entertainment, sport, music and more. 

Many night have been in aid of a collection of charities in Steve’s business networking group, Business Network International, throughout the West Midlands.

Others have been held for specific grass-roots charities themselves.

One charity helped was the Buddy Bag Foundation ( which supplies essential items for children escaping violent homes.

Ambassador Linda Aitchison said: “Huge thanks to Steve – who is far too modest to take any of the credit, but he’s a true star. With £1,000 raised Steve has made a big difference.”

BNI’s Edwin puts Birmingham jobseekers in the frame

Talented Sunrise photographer Edwin Ladd is helping jobseekers made redundant because of  the Covid-19 pandemic with a free photo shoot to support their search for work.

Edwin Ladd of Mr Ladd Media is asking for people to come forward so he can capture and supply professional images to be used in job applications or on social media posts. 

Since announcing his offer recently he has had dozens of people get in touch and has arranged around 10 upcoming shoots  so far.

He has also been inundated with support from Birmingham businesses online as his post about helping clocked up an estimated 100,000 views.

Edgbaston-based Edwin said: “Ever since I have been in business I have wanted to support others.

“When I saw someone post on LinkedIn they were now out of work and the strength of feeling supporting them, and others.  I knew I needed to take action.

“My skill set means that action can be helping them stand out which will help get their skills and experience across.

“I can take compelling and stunning photos to give jobseekers a boost.

“I’m offering a free professional photo shoot in Birmingham city centre.The shoot will reflect the area of work these people are looking for.I’m very grateful for the support. I’ve been astonished at how many people have seen my LinkedIn post.

“My aim is to boost wellbeing and confidence through the shoot itself as well as supplying the resulting photos for use on social media, in CVs and job applications.”

 *Anyone interested in finding out more can contact Edwin on 07828 475591 or  

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