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North East Small Businesses Cause a Digital Disruption at Alnwick Garden

After having to postpone more than four times due to social distancing restrictions, over 100 local businesses based across the North East were finally able to get together and attend Digital Disruption, a week of hybrid events culminating in a full-day large scale event at The Alnwick Garden on Friday.

Published: 24 September 2021

Crafted by Business Northumberland, a weeklong agenda of hybrid events, taking place from 13th to 17th September, focussed on providing businesses from across the North East the skills to develop their digital footprint, increase sales and get their business noticed online.

Business Northumberland provides support to small and medium enterprises across the North East who are looking to sustain and grow their business online. The fully funded support programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Advance Northumberland, so there is no cost to eligible businesses when accessing the support.

Initial feedback from the online workshops led by the Allies Group has been glowing, with the sessions described as “engaging”, “excellent” and “superb” by local business owners who took the opportunity to work alongside digital experts to develop their social media content, digital marketing strategies and blogging and vlogging skills.

Digital Disruption was the first event delivered by Business Northumberland using a hybrid format, but it will not be the last, as the succession of the week has demonstrated a demand for a mixture of virtual and physical events which will continue to be delivered by the programme in 2022 and beyond.

Culminating in a full day face-to-face event, attendees were inspired by guest speakers from Kielder Observatory and the marketing team from The Alnwick Garden as well as being given the opportunity to work directly alongside digital experts and get tailored advice and support for their business.

Jeff Watson, Chair of Advance Northumberland said: “The event was a big step for Business Northumberland and those businesses in attendance to get back to face to face events.

“If this past year has taught us anything it is the value of having your business online and the benefits of having instant communication with customers using social media. The week captured this perfectly and has provided businesses with the tools and confidence to get their business noticed online.”

The week highlighted the importance of using social media to not only build brand awareness and reach potential customers but also to ensure that businesses are using the varied platforms in the right way for their individual needs and being authentic while doing so.

The Digital Disruption event also allowed for businesses to network face-to-face for the first time in nearly two years. Although networking can be mimicked in an online forum, businesses benefitted from face-to-face networking in the stunning grounds of The Alnwick Garden with businesses collaborating to create meaningful working relationships for future projects and contacts.  

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