Chamber Networking at the Paragon Hotel

Last Friday saw us attend the regular monthly networking event which this time round was held at the Paragon Hotel formerly known some years back as the Chamberlain Hotel.


For the Birmingham Chambers first monthly event of 2012 it seemed well organised as well as did the  Paragon Hotel and its staff - well organised and prepared to cater for the event.


Yet just like in 2011, 2010, 2009……… it never seems to amaze that whilst the event was being held for the benefit of members and the many small businesses within the Midlands, and still there are those business folk that perhaps despite of any New Year resolutions to do things differently, they still book on to such events and cannot be bothered to even turn up or have the decency to advise that they are unable to attend despite being booked on.


As the many midland business folk who attends this regular event will know - substantial quality food is laid (and Friday was no exception) on for those attending and numbers to cater for are gathered from those that book on saying that they’re going – if you don’t attend that’s time and effort wasted, not forgetting the food.


Perhaps many don’t know the history or realise that the building which the Paragon Hotel now utilises has come a long way since it was built in 1903 by architect Harry Bell Measures, which by the way there are some very similar buildings in London that were also designed by the same architect.


The original purpose of the building was that as a hostel for men who happened to come upon bad times through unemployment or debt. However, it was a dignified place designed to help those in need get back into gainful employment.


Perhaps the networking meeting last Friday could be a parallel to the historic roots of the building but last Friday for the day only saw the Birmingham Chamber and the Paragon Hotel in what today could be considered to be tough times helping local business people to connect with each other for the purpose of mutual benefits through the possible provision and purchase of products and services.


As a hostel for only sixpence a day a lodger got his own bed within a separate cubicle, complete with horsehair mattress and all bedding. Hot and cold water was provided with access to a dining hall that offered cheap meals. The building also had a reading room, smoking room and washing and drying facilities.


Chamber members networking at the Paragon HotelAs Chamber Networking event you booked on free as a member and all you had to do was turn up – how hard could that be?


The exhibitors at the event were as always some familiar faces as were the attendee’s – however perhaps the businesses of Birmingham need to bear in mind that foreign businesses were also exhibiting at this event pitching to your potential customers. When we say foreign we’re eluding to the fact that they are from outside the West Midlands region i.e. one business was from Liverpool and another was from Manchester – both of which talking to businesses on YOUR DOOR STEP.


Of course there’s the argument that business folk think that networking events are a total waste of time, or that some events are okay and others are not – whatever your view, is your view!


But if you book on to attend such a meeting you clearly think it carries merit at the time so the only descent thing you can do is to turn up and see what it is like, because if you don’t your allowing more and more foreign outsider businesses to Connect to Birmingham businesses before you do.