OWL Business Focus was formed in January 2012 by co-founders Chris Wootton and Lizz Jones who both felt that West Lancashire lacked an independent forum for local business leaders. Over numerous cups of coffee (and the odd glass of wine) they developed the brand and values that have remained at the heart of the OWL ethos ever since.
We hold monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of every month, starting at 8am sharp. There is a fixed agenda including: introductions; the opportunity to pitch your business; information spotlight session; short business presentation; news from the month and of course business networking. Members are strongly encouraged to meet amongst themselves between the monthly events, as it is through these that stronger business connections and introductions are made.
So here’s what we mean by “members” – and our definition of this is deliberately broad. Anyone who lives, or has a business interest in West Lancashire is welcome to join us. There is no formal application process, and no subscription fees to pay. We believe that what you put into OWL will be directly proportional to what you get from it. Regular attendees receive benefits including a free inclusion to our on-line members’ directory; or presence across our marketing collateral.
The 3 central themes of the organisation are:
• Mutual Support
• Business Development
• Community Engagement
This aspect of the group provides you with the opportunity to share your experiences, skills and ambitions in an open, friendly manner. At every meeting, a member of the group will take the spotlight, and provide some insight into a particular topic, usually business related. We also provide opportunities for members to share success or war stories, or to help find the solution to an elusive problem. Being a part of OWL is your opportunity to share, participate and contribute to support your business colleagues.
The traditional business networking model encourages members to trade preferentially with one another, or to refer each other’s companies to their own contacts, often based on reputation alone. Taking an active role in OWL Business Focus helps you to demonstrate both your skills and values, building respect and validating confidence in each other. We provide ample opportunities for networking at our events, as well as facilitating introductions and brokering connections with other businesses.
OWL Business Focus represents a cross section of the local business community and has a valuable contribution to make in the wider economic arena. It also presents the community with a channel to access the resources and skills available within the group, as well as giving members the opportunity to contribute to valuable projects across the area.
Many platforms for business networking already exist, however OWL distinguishes itself in the approach the group has to developing strong connections across the business community. From early on, it was recognised that the key to success was in the links the group made with stakeholders from across the region, and understanding that there is a wider circle of interest beyond the membership base.
No-one has a financial investment in OWL, and the group exists as a community interest company. Yet whilst it operates on a “not-for-profit” basis, it was established that there are three different categories of stakeholders, each with their own unique set of expectations:
Individuals and organisations directly aligned to the group who attend meetings; contribute time or resources to the group’s activities and who can potentially benefit from the group’s 3 key themes (Mutual Support, Business Development and Community Engagement).
Individuals or organisations, typically from charities, community, volunteer or faith sectors, who can benefit from the activities provided by the group.
This group represents larger organisations who provide a supporting role to the group eg through allocation of time or resources; by brokering introductions; or by helping to promote the organisation positively across the region.
Come and join us.