New Chichester networking group targets small business owners

A new way of networking has launched in Chichester.

Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 1:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2018, 5:14 pm

Founded by Chichester entrepreneurs Helen Hoile and Abby Smith, The Collective is an inclusive networking community for local business owners, solopreneurs or those looking to quit the 9–5 and start something new.

The Collective is built on Abby and Helen’s shared ethos and approach to life: collaboration, friendship and warmth.

The Collective officially launched on July 18 at an event held at Luckes Livewell Cafe, North Street. Over 80 local business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs gathered to find out more about the new initiative whilst enjoying sparkling wine and a complementary Indian head massage.


Collective co-founder Helen Hoile explained: “We chose Luckes as our launch venue because it is not only a wonderfully beautiful space but the owner Melanie Luckes epitomises entrepreneurship. Health and well-being, both mind and body, is very important to us at The Collective. Toiling away every waking hour to make your business a success is very often a necessity but can also become the norm. We want to remind our members to take time for themselves. That’s why all our catch ups and events will include some kind of mindful and fun activity to ensure that work life balance exists within our membership. We will also be donating £2 of every membership to a local mental health charity.”

On joining The Collective, members will enjoy a 12 month programme of some 36 meet-ups and events which will allow them to: build new relationships; add a new dimension to their PR and marketing; gain essential business insights and advice and enjoy fun & mindful activities at fantastic independent venues.

The launch of the Collective was a popular event. Picture by Nikki Feltham Photography

Helen said: “The Collective is all about inspiring, empowering and celebrating its members. We want to support them in achieving their goals. I have run my own portrait and wedding photography business for almost 10 years and I know how difficult and lonely being a business owner can be. I found this even more so since becoming a mum with less opportunities and time to get myself out there, grow my business and learn how to take it to the next level. Being a member of The Collective will give local businesses a friendly, welcoming place to inspire and be inspired safe in the knowledge they are part of a likeminded, local community that has their back.”

At the heart of The Collective is its CiiCC philosophy built on five pillars: Connect, Inspire, Ignite, Collaborate, Celebrate. Representing these pillars are five Ambassadors, all local Chichester entrepreneurs, each with an inspiring story behind their business success. These include Rachel of BrightWord PR, Lucy from The Dainty Desk, Toni of Feed Me Momma and Steff and Shona of Body Confident Bootcamp.

Abby Smith, The Collective co-founder said: “Our Ambassadors represent what a vibrant and exciting business community Chichester has. They exemplify to our members that you don’t need costly office premises, a snazzy website or even a set of business cards to make your business dreams come true. What our Ambassadors ooze is positivity, belief and the support of a friendly network of people who encouraged them and gave them a helping hand along the way.

“That’s exactly what The Collective offers, a chance for local businesses to harness the power of many at a fraction of its true value.”

Interested business and individuals can find out more at

Pictures by Nicki Feltham Photography