Bristol and Bath Enterprise Network
The BBSEN project ended in early 2018.


For a number of years the Bristol and Bath Enterprise Network was a network for Bristol and Bath. Initially affliliated with the University of Bristol, in 2010 it become an independent, self-funding organisation, associated with Science City Bristol. BEN held a series of events designed to foster profitable connections between individuals and companies in the region.
Content is from the site's 2008 - 2010 archived pages.

The BBSEN project ended in early 2018.

Whether you were running an existing social enterprise, were a budding social entrepreneur, supported social enterprises or were interested in taking business beyond profit - we wanted to connect with you. Membership of this collaborative network was free for social Whether you were running an existing social enterprise, were a budding social entrepreneur, supported social enterprises or were interested in taking business beyond profit - we wanted to connect with you. Membership of this collaborative network was free for social entrepreneurs to connect, engage, share and support each other to develop a strong social economy. This was their network.

It was coordinated by a voluntary team derived from members of the Social Enterprise Sector Group of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnershipentrepreneurs to connect, engage, share and support each other to develop a strong social economy. This was their network

It was coordinated by a voluntary team derived from members of the Social Enterprise Sector Group of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership




Welcome to the Bristol Enterprise Network website, the University of Bristol's facility to assist knowledge transfer among the high-tech, high-growth business community. The network is ideally placed to bring together regional, national and international organisations from both the commercial and academic arenas.


The Network will enable easy and rapid access to the knowledge, expertise, experience and equipment, available within partner organisations, including Bristol University. Some of the exclusive benefits you receive with BEN membership are:

  • Opportunity to network with like-minded business people
  • Build relationships with organisations at all levels of the business process (e.g. manufacturers, service organisations, financiers etc)
  • Interaction with researchers and leading academics
  • Access to a significant group of entrepreneurs
  • Series of training and development opportunities including presentations, lectures, seminars and workshop


The Bristol Enterprise Network is FREE to join for anyone involved with high-tech, high-growth organisations in the Bristol City region.

We aim to facilitate knowledge exchange between entrepreneurs, academics, investors, industry partners and professional service providers.

By joining BEN you not only get access to the full range of this website's services and interactive features, but also get personal invitations to a wide range of networking and speaker events.

One other benefit of joining BEN is that you get the opportunity to showcase your own business. We make a conscious effort to give a platform to Bristol businesses, from start-up ventures to established companies.


Upcoming events

Networking your way to success!
21 October, 2008 - 18:15
Event Organiser:
Business Link SW
Location : Bristol

NHS Grand Challenges
BEN feature
11 November, 2008 - 18:00
Event Organiser:
Events Team, Research & Enterprise Development
Organised by : Bristol Enterprise Network
Location : Bristol

Latest News

Bristol launches new service for major investors
16 October 2008

Bristol City Council has recently launched a new website to promote the city as an investment location. Supported by GWE Business West and other key partners, the 'Invest in Bristol' website, aims to ensure that Bristol punches its full weight as a top European city for investment.

Domestic economy under immense pressure
The British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey (Q3 2008) received over 5,000 responses from businesses of all sizes and sectors.
13 October 2008



A day in the life of ...

John Bradford,

Farming Today on Radio4 is my regular cue to get out of bed and hit the shower. As John Humphries and co replace Anna Hill I’ve signed into Gmail checking for any overnight messages. Fortunately it’s been quiet so I switch to GReader to catch up on the tech/business news and gossip. Being a Tues I’m sending tweets to get people along to >Open Coffee for our fortnightly meet up and network.

30 April 2009


Ben Heald, CEO, Sift - Monday 13th October.

Took the kids in to school which meant I was in work in Victoria Street for 8.  A few people start arriving at Sift at 7.30, but the bulk drift in between 8.30 and 9.15.  Spent the first hour or so, catching up with emails.  We’re all completely open plan at Sift, which I think is really important.

20 October 2008


David Gilroy, Sales & Marketing Director, Conscious Solutions.

It's not necessarily true that no two days are the same, I think there is quite a lot of similarity from one day to the next in my role, but then that's true of any job I think. In addition to overall responsibility for Sales & Marketing at Conscious, I also oversee the finance function.  Here's how a real day went recently in September.

22 September 2008




In October 2009 BEN carried out a web survey of its members in order to explore some key questions relating the the future of the network.  The survey was completed by 81 members.  To analyse the responses we have split them into 2 groups:

  • techbiz: people who work for technology oriented businesses
  • non-techbiz: people who work for other types of organisations

A further breakdown of respondees is presented here.

The questions that we asked (linked to details of responses) and the main conclusions we draw from the responses are:

What are the biggest challenges facing your organisation?

For both groups of respondees the top 2 challenges are sales/marketing related: 'creating sales leads' and 'converting leads into sales'.  For technology businesses these are followed by 'finding funding', 'market research', 'technical development' and 'business planning'.  Future BEN activities should help our members address these challenges.

Which aspects of BEN do you most value?

Both groups value 'cross-sector techbiz networking' and 'learning from expert speakers' most highly.  The 'close connections with universities' are also valued, but 'the BEN website' is not.  BEN should focus primarily on events which combine networking and learning opportunities.

What types of BEN events are you interested in attending?

BEN evening networking events, as currently run, are most popular, followed by joint events, workshops and business reviews.  We will follow up opportunities for more joint events, and will run some pilot entrepreneur workshops.

What themes would you like BEN to cover in future events?

A wide variety of possible themes were suggested, with some coinciding with the challenges identified by the first question above. We will consider these suggestions as we plan the event program for 2010.

If you are based in or near Bristol would you travel to a BEN event in Bath (or vice versa)?

Less than 10% of each group is unwilling to travel between Bristol and Bath for a relevant event.  BEN is planning to start holding some events in Bath in early 2010. 

What areas of the BEN website should we focus on improving, to encourage you to use it more often?

Member directories, news and events are the highest priorities.

Should we rename BEN to reflect the increased focus on innovative technology businesses, and/or the coverage of Bath?

Most respondees woud prefer that BEN not be renamed.  However the respondees are already BEN members who are familiar with the current organisation name, and we need to consider if a new name would help increase membership, especially in Bath.  Nearly half of the suggestions for new names that were submitted included Bath in the name.

How should an independent BEN aim to generate/raise revenue?

Raising revenue from advertising and sponsorship was the most popular option (turkeys don't vote for Christmas!), followed by grants, commercial activities and event fees.  Membership fees were particularly unpopular.  We will further explore a business model for BEN which has a range of revenue sources, probably including event fees, but excluding membership fees.

If membership remains free or low cost, how much should we charge to attend an evening networking event?

More than half of respndees in each group proposed prices between £10 and £20 per event.

What other networks/associations do you actively participate in?

A wide range of other networks/associations were listed by the 42 respondents to this question.  Those mentioned more than once were:

  • 12 times: The Insititute of Directors (IoD)
  • 5 times: GWE Business West (inc. Chambers of Commerce)
  • 4 times BNI and Silicon SW
  • 3 times: BETS, Business Link, FSB, KTNs and LinkedIn
  • 2 times: Bristol Media and Open Coffee

We will continue to explore the possibility of collaborating with relevant networks such as these.

How would you be interested to participate more in BEN?

A substantial minority of respondees are interested to speak at events, be a BEN champion, join an advisory group, be a mentor or offer discounted services/products through BEN.  We should follow up this interest.



Feedback from Ben Weisman: The guidance we received from BEN was instrumental in enabling my team to successfully create an online affiliate business focused on the gaming industry. Specifically, as fans of online slots we chose to address the largest market - the USA - with a website and created a US slots site for slots fans as well as tips and suggestions for slots players in America. We were guided to this end by research which was the result of recommendations from experienced entrepreneurs we met via BEN. Although we are a British entity, we were able to reach across the Atlantic with help from experts who showed us the way. Strongly recommend that anyone take advantage of the expertise and experience offered here.



The Bath & Bristol Enterprise Network (BEN) helps technology entrepreneurs and their businesses in the Bristol and Bath region, by running events that connect, inform and inspire.

We involve not just small and large technology businesses but also other stakeholders including the region's universities, government, business networks, investors, service providers and social enterprises.

The Bath & Bristol Enterprise Network (BEN) is the networking and support organisation for technology businesses in the Bristol and Bath region. It runs inspiring, relevant events and a useful, accessible virtual network at

BEN has over 1800 members: entrepreneurs, academics, investors, industry leaders and professional service providers.  We currently offer free membership and members can attend most of our events free-of-charge.

BEN was set up by the University of Bristol in 2003.  Modelled on the successful Cambridge Network, it was intended to better link the city's growing number of technology entrepreneurs with investors, industry partners, professional service providers and academics.  BEN's networking events were designed to inform members of the latest best practice and new ideas and provide an open forum to accelerate new collaborations.

In early 2009 the University of Bristol felt that BEN needed a new direction and initiated a process of transformation to:

  • spin BEN out from the university to become an independent, self-funding organisation, associated with Science City Bristol
  • increase BEN's focus on meeting the needs of smaller technology businesses, and
  • extend the geographical scope of BEN from Bristol to also cover Bath and surrounding area.


This process is now under way and is also supported by the University of the West of England, Bath University and the South West Regional Development Agency.

In January 2010 BEN was re-named from the Bristol Enterprise Network to the Bath & Bristol Enterprise Network.
BEN members get together during regular free events (see BEN free events page). These evening events attract expert speakers who are keen to share their knowledge and experience. They cover a range of topics - from finance, sales and entrepreneurial leadership, to more specialised subjects such as bioscience, nanotechnology, health, communications and environmental issues.

This website is a resource for members. We would encourage you to keep your profile up to date, post press releases, contribute to discussions, and post any job vacancies you may have..

If you wish to join you may do so online or by contacting the BEN administrator Kelly Willshire who can also answer any website queries you may have. (0117 3317336 or



Bath & Bristol Enterprise Network - News

We aim to keep you informed of the latest news headlines and business-related opportunities but members are welcome to post information which may be of interest to others.

This is your opportunity to celebrate your success and raise your visibility. It’s a great opportunity to inspire and engage other members! 

Posting is easy and you can update, edit and expand your listing whenever you want. Simply click on the 'submit a press release' link at the top of the page when you're logged in.

SETsquared Partnership offers a million pearls of wisdom to grow business in recession

Technology business acceleration specialists SETsquared (the enterprise partnership of Bristol, Bath, Southampton and Surrey universities) has brought new Bristol-based software company Brightpearl into a major phase of expansion, helping them secure $1.5 million of funding, announced earlier this week.
08 July 2010 |

Leading corporate finance advisor Beanstalk Management secures 3M in funding for Tech Company

Beanstalk Management, the leading corporate finance advisor specialising in the small and midÔÇÉmarket, has successfully concluded a private equity investment on behalf of Mantis Deposition Limited.
08 July 2010

ELearning Training Courses - Instant, affordable and straight to your desktop

You may be glad to learn that you can now own excellent, affordable, personal training seminars, in the form of an instant digital download or DVD.

07 July 2010

Wanted - SMEs with Big Ideas on Climate Change

Shell Springboard is now open for the sixth round of applications, for small businesses who have an innovative product or service that will help address climate change.
06 July 2010

Invest in Bristol News - June 2010

See attached the June 2010 issue of Invest in Bristol News. You can also view this on where an archive of previous Invest in Bristol News is available. Invest in Bristol News is produced by Bristol City Council's Economic Developent Team and includes extracts from local media coverage as well as press releases supplied by Bristol's leading companies and public sector organisations. All stories sourced from local media are verified with the companies or organisations concerned in order to ensure accurate coverage. 

If your company or organisation would like to submit press releases to Invest in Bristol News please email us at

05 July 2010

Graduate Intern opportunity for small businesses

Are you a small business; would you like to have a talented graduate work in your organisation for a few weeks this summer?
02 July 2010

Ladbrook Engineering's Expertise Helps Keep Historic Car on the Road

Ladbrook develops and manufacture the press tools for components for prestige veteran car.
30 June 2010

Ladbrook Engineering Enables A New Generation of Glass Recycling Technology

Ladbrook Engineering have announced that they are currently working on the design and production of a new generation of  glass recycling machine for the licence trade.
24 June 2010

Budget – Key Points for Small Businesses

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, today announced an "unavoidable" Budget intended to tackle debt and deficit within the UK economy and "balance the books" by 2016.
23 June 2010 |

UPDATE: South West finalists announced in £50,000 search for Britain’s Best New Business

The five regional finalists have been selected to compete in The Pitch 2010’s South West heat in Bristol on Monday 21 June.
18 June 2010 |


Examples of past events, the speakers, and how we have promoted them can be viewed here.  It is free to attend a BEN event and we always welcome your suggestions for new topics or speakers.

Upcoming events : 2010

Only members can add and maintain their own events. Posting is easy and there is no charge. You can update, edit and expand your listing whenever you want.

If you are already a member, please log in now. Otherwise, Register Today and start adding your own events. The more people who know about your events means you are likely to attract more attendees!

Still unsure? See “About us” for the benefits of BEN membership.

Conflict management training

21 July, 2010 - 09:00 - 22 July, 2010 - 16:30
Event Organiser: 
Lindsey McAleer
Organised by : Corporate Coach Training Group
Location : London

People management training

21 July, 2010 - 09:00 - 22 July, 2010 - 16:30
Event Organiser: 
Corporate Coach Group
Organised by : Corporate Coach Training Group
Location : London

Seminar: How to Make Money out of Intellectual Property (IP)

21 July, 2010 - 15:00 - 21 July, 2010 - 17:00
Event Organiser: 
Withers & Rogers LLP
Location : Bristol

Innovation Forum - Bristol

22 July, 2010 - 09:00 - 22 July, 2010 - 17:00
Event Organiser: 
Location : Bristol

Time Management Training London

22 July, 2010 - 09:00 - 22 July, 2010 - 16:30
Event Organiser: 
 Lindsey McAleer
Organised by : Corporate Coach Training Group
Location : London

Innovation Forum - Bristol

22 July, 2010 - 09:30 - 22 July, 2010 - 16:00
Event Organiser: 
Enterprise Europe Network South West and the South West Science & Industry Council
Location : Bristol

Framework Programme 7 - Healthcare Call 2010 Info Day

27 July, 2010 - 09:30 - 27 July, 2010 - 12:30
Event Organiser: 
Enterprise Europe Network South West
Location : Bristol

eOffice Coffee Friday - Starting your own company: My Shoestring Romance

30 July, 2010 - 10:30
Event Organiser: 
Organised by : eOffice
Location : Bristol

Stress management training

3 August, 2010 - 09:00 - 3 August, 2010 - 16:30
Event Organiser: 
Lindsey McAleer
Location : Gloucester

Money Can't Buy Me Time. A TelePA conference

8 September, 2010 - 09:30
Event Organiser: 
Nr Bristol
Organised by : TelePA
Location : Nr Bristol