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Meet the Chapter: BNI Castle (Nottingham)

The Poppy and Pint in West Bridgford is a popular pub in the community, both at lunchtimes and evenings. And now, thanks to BNI, it’s also a popular destination for businesses on Wednesday mornings at 9.15am.

Just a cricket ball’s throw from Trent Bridge, this is the meeting venue for BNI’s Castle Chapter, and guests are always bowled over by the enthusiasm in the room.

With 24 members, this group has many bases covered: personal fitness training, photography, IT support, marketing, printing, signage, property, legal, accountancy, finance, graphic design, plumbing, electrical and web design. BNI Castle even has specialists in clothing design and stained glass!

It’s a supportive, collaborative group and you get the sense that members really go out of their way to help each other. These guys have truly embraced the ‘Givers Gain’ philosophy.


Find out more about BNI Castle (Nottingham) here.

Meet Peter Frohmaier - from BNI Tennyson in Lincoln

Why did I renew my BNI membership for the fourth year? That’s easy.” 

You’re probably like me. Running a business alongside a hectic lifestyle takes some doing and finding time to do anything is often tricky.

So why do I continue to make time for BNI every week? The answer is simple. To have the majority of businesses that I need and that I can trust, together in the same room every Friday makes my life much easier.

We use Shawn Bailey for our electric supply; James Morris for all our building work; Kevin Lovett to solve our electrical problems; Robin Faulkner for all things made from metal; Chris Greig for all of our marketing; Simon Smallwood for our website; Steve Robinson for our accounts; Julia McGinn for our social media; Sandra Picksley for all our flowers; Darren for sorting out my bad back; and, most importantly, Christine Taylor for planning my holidays!

We also get a lot of referrals from pretty much every member in the chapter, from which we do very well. It’s rare for me not to stand up and say thank you for the business each week.

So renewing was one of the easiest decisions I have made. It was a ‘no-brainer’ for me and my company to carry on being a member of BNI. It’s a great tool for business generation and having a room full of businesses that we use and trust to do the job right really helps us.

Peter is managing director at S&P Garages Ltd in Lincoln. The firm is a Mercedes Benz approved repairer for trucks and vans, as well as a Mercedes Benz car independent specialist.


Fit for business: BNI member opens city gym

BNI Castle member Ali West has opened an exclusive new gym in Nottingham, specialising in personal training.

Kinetic Fitness opened its doors on February 2 in the Nottingham’s iconic city centre building, The Pod.

Ali, an experienced personal trainer, who launched the new venture with business partner, Jamie Woodward explains:

"I have been a personal trainer for more than a decade and Jamie has worked in the sports sector for his whole career, so we feel we have the magic formula for a new type of gym that can deliver health and fitness results to everyone.

"It is all about offering a personal service that's accessible and friendly and encourages people to come back day in, day out.”

A design for life

Ali and Jamie submitted a business challenge to students on the Grads4Nottm scheme to design the interior and layout for their new gym.

The Grads4Nottm scheme brings employers together with student talent and supports keeping local talent in Nottingham.

Ali said: “The students were really professional and brought some fresh ideas into the design. We were amazed with the work they delivered over the course of two weeks. At the end, we were so impressed that we took their designs to our contractors.

“We went to get a quote to match the design work they had delivered to get an understanding of the amount of work they had done and we were told it was valued at £10,000.”

The new gym offers a completely new approach to fitness and with only 1,000 spaces for members, it is an exclusive gem in the city centre.

For more information, visit Ali’s website:


My BNI - "The most inspiring time of the week"

Meet Glen Settle - from BNI Olympians in Lincoln

My name is Glen Settle and I’m the director of Glen Settle Windows - Installing values.

BNI! This is the first networking group that I have been involved with. I was invited to go along and was told that there would be a good opportunity for me to get more business. That sounds great, I thought!

But I’ve discovered that BNI is so much more than that. What I have found most helpful, is that being around other ambitious, open-minded business owners, I have had an opportunity to develop my business and myself as a person.  I now know the direction that I will be taking my business in and I have a much clearer understanding of how I will move towards achieving my goals.

People say it’s lonely at the top, but it really doesn’t have to be. Being around the team in the Olympians chapter, my friends, I have found that we actually work together and help each other achieve what we’re aiming for.

Personally, I have found BNI most inspiring. It has given me a structure to my week and has provided me with an increased drive and determination to move my business forward. Hopefully, at the same time, I inspire my colleagues within the Olympians chapter to achieve their own goals.

I believe that BNI is a great way to introduce yourself to a whole new way of thinking; it really has opened my eyes to what is possible for Glen Settle Windows.

Thank you to all involved within the Olympians chapter, you make Wednesday morning the most inspiring time of the week for me.


My BNI Story - Jade Hicks

How BNI has helped me establish my portrait and personal branding photography business - Jade Hicks

Jade Hicks is a member of BNI Stamford Links. Jade aims to change the way people see themselves. And the way others see them.

Jade joined the new BNI group last year, after attending a couple of meetings as a guest.

“I was impressed by the supportive, collaborative nature of the group. For me, business is all about the relationships you make and BNI has helped me to establish some really good, new relationships” said Jade.

“I think business people are often too busy running their business to think about their own personal branding. They tend to make do with a 10-year-old headshot, or even a selfie! My personal branding photography helps them stand out from the crowd and make an impression, and BNI has helped me to get that message across directly to dozens of local business owners in the area.”

With much of her photography, Jade empowers women. With her policy of ‘beauty at all ages’, Jade’s portrait work produces some of the most emboldening and elegant imagery a client could hope for.

I love BNI”

“I love BNI. I love the people and I love the energy. I’ve already worked with several members of our Chapter and I’m looking forward to developing more successful relationships in the year ahead.”

For further information, call Jade on 07557 055017, email or visit her website


Holding back the river - BNI Nottingham Link member sails to victory

BNI Nottingham Link member Simon Crowther has won the ‘Young Entrepreneur of The Year’ title at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards

22-year-old Simon, founder of Flood Protection Solutions and Skyrocket Solutions, has been celebrating after winning ‘Young Entrepreneur of The Year’ at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2016.

The award was the climax to a stellar year for Simon, who was also voted one of the top ‘100 Visionary Leaders’ by international Real Leaders Magazine.

Simon enjoyed his most successful year to date, which saw him secure contracts to supply Water Companies with the Water-Gate temporary flood barrier.
Simon established Flood Protection Solutions Ltd in 2012, to become the sole UK distributor of the Water-Gate temporary flood barrier, after using the product to protect his own family home from flooding. The Water-Gate barrier is a temporary system which is unique in the way that once rolled out, it self deploys using the weight of the water itself to hold the water back. It’s effectiveness in controlling flood waters has helped to secure contracts from clients such as Thames Water, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency.

Simon launched his second business, Skyrocket Solutions, in 2015 to help engineering, technical and manufacturing businesses manage their social media.  With an engineering background himself, he discovered ed how powerful social media marketing was to his first business (Flood Protection Solutions) and realised he could help other businesses who were lagging behind or just not engaging with social media at all to use social media marketing to increase their business exposure.
Simon commented: ‘I’m incredibly proud to have won Young Entrepreneur of The Year at the 2016 Great British Entrepreneur Awards. The competition was fierce with many of the UK’s top young entrepreneurs in the running including former winners of the hit TV show The Apprentice. I have a great team and family around me and I hope I can inspire students to study engineering and stay in that field.”


My BNI Story - Anne Abba of Speak Confidently

BNI was working, even when I wasn’t!

I joined Castle BNI Nottingham in March 2015, soon after I started my business. Having been a teacher for more than 25 years, being in business was very different.  The members of my chapter were really helpful and supportive, and with their help my business developed in many ways. 

One of the benefits BNI gave me was when I was on holiday last year. In my absence, my sub obviously did a very good job, as I subsequently received an email from a visitor. 

Georgina, from Nottingham Trent University, was following up her visit, inviting me to get in touch with her. We met up and had a chat about how my training could help the students with their presentations. She was very determined that I must meet several of her colleagues, giving me a chance to explain the benefits of my training for their business students. 

After previously trying to develop links with the university for several months, I now have two leaders of different courses in the business school who have asked me to deliver the presentation skills training. How amazing, that even though I was on holiday, the BNI referral system was still working hard on my behalf!

About Anne

Anne Abba is a speech and presentation consultant and trainer, who has worked with a wide variety of professionals at all stages in their careers. Each of them has experienced an immediate improvement in their voice, found a more powerful way to present themselves and learnt a variety of techniques to overcome the fear of public speaking.

How can Anne help you? If you are starting out in your career, then sounding professional and confident is essential. Do you want to connect with your audience and make them listen? Anne has the expertise to help you achieve this.

Anne helps young professionals make the transition from nervous beginner to inspirational raconteur. She also helps people deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting out in the professional world. Recent successes include overseas professionals and international students, who have recognised the importance of speaking English more clearly.

Anne’s company, Speak Confidently, offers a professional, empowering and practical approach to help you improve your communication skills and become a successful speaker. She offers a wide range of programmes and services, from individual coaching and workshops, to seminars and keynote speeches. A former head of drama and workshop leader for more than 25 years, Anne empowers business people to be great communicators, in public speaking and in everyday business situations.

Overcome your fear of public speaking and learn the tools and techniques to build up your confidence and speak with clarity and impact.

For further information, call Anne on 07714406372, email or visit her website


Stories of Success - BLU:72 Creative

How long have you been in the design industry?

A long time... I left school and went to college in Sheffield to study design in 1988 so it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do really, after 6yrs at college I got my first job in Nottingham at Purple Circle where we worked on regional clients such as Bell-Fruit and Marston’s.

In 1998 I moved down to London to work for a company in docklands near Canary Wharf called Bentley Holland where I focused on more corporate work, designing annual reports and brochures for government agencies. I then moved across London in 2000 to the world renowned AKQA who were then based on Jermyn Street near Piccadilly to work on brands such as MINI, BMW and Sainsbury's.

How long have you been in business?

15 years since April 2001. We were based in south east London originally, but moved up to Nottingham in 2003.

What does BLU:72 do?

We offer Graphic Design services including Branding and Logo Design.

What industries are you looking for referrals from?

We are currently focusing on the sports industry such as clubs, promoters, agents, sports products or even the players/athletes themselves. In the last year we have branded a new ice hockey team, re-branded a cricket club, and designed the packaging for a new brand of base layer clothing among other projects.

Historically, we have a good track record within education so would always look for referrals there as well, we are used to designing large college prospectuses, branding open events and doing all the promotional design for awards nights, so more of that kind of work would be great.

How did you hear of BNI?

Around 2008/09, we were experiencing a slow down (before we realised we were heading for recession), so I figured I needed to get out there and went to a council run event, I got talking to someone and he recommended BNI, I had never heard of it, so went online and booked to go along.

So what made you join?

To be honest, it seemed like a no-brainer, I wasn’t given the hard sell, but I could see the value in getting to know a group of people who would try and look out for opportunities for us.

What are the benefits of BNI to your business?

We are only a small business and a lot of our clients are remote, so having that weekly interaction is good, I’ve also made some really good friends through BNI. From a business point of view it’s been great, basically I wouldn’t get up at the crack of dawn for 7yrs to come to meetings if it wasn’t worth it. We get a good return on our investment, so long may it continue.

What would you say to someone considering joining a BNI?

I would say just go along and see what you think. Don’t go with the view of joining necessarily, just go and see if its a good fit for you, but as always in life, you get out of it what you put into it. It takes a while for people to know, like and trust you, so you can’t just go once and expect referrals to come flooding in. You need to be professional from the off as BNI is a fair old commitment time-wise, so if you do join, treat BNI members as you would your best client. Be on time, follow through on referrals, be positive and good things will come.

For more information of BLU:72 visit

Stories of Success - Terry Ellis 

This month we wanted to hear from Terry Ellis, the director of H22 Solutions Limited, a current member of the Nottingham group, Trent. We asked Terry a few questions on how BNI has been successful in his business. 

Why did you join BNI?

My day job is to help businesses grow their digital brand awareness and grow their business within the East Midlands and the UK with the help of social media channels. I felt it was time to take the next step to grow mine and this has been possible since joining BNI.

How long have you been with BNI?

14 months, currently helping to grow the group.

We wanted to know why people should choose to visit BNI?

It’s a great opportunity for anyone who is unsure of BNI. Due to the time and dedication it involves, I advise you visit your local BNI chapter as it’s a great way to gain lasting relationships with businesses within the chapter. As we meet each week it allows us to earn each other’s trust within a reduced time-frame, compared to other networking events, so you can gain an idea of the benefits networking has. The BNI group has accounted for 25% of my overall revenue since joining only 14 months ago.  

Thank you Terry, and all the best for the Trent group. 

Business Focus - Cobblecrete Building

James is the owner of Cobblecrete Building, a building company in Lincoln. James has built up his business working with a multi-trade team offering a wide range of building work to improve your home. We have asked James to tell us why he joined BNI (Tennyson) and how since joining it has made his business more successful.

"I originally joined after another member of BNI invited me and explained how it’s a great way to grow your business with referrals from reputable professionals. I have since been at BNI for 18 months and have seen first-hand the additional success it has brought my business with regular referrals for the specific work I am looking for. I have also benefited from forming relationships with other knowledgeable business professionals within the BNI group. I would recommend visiting BNI if you are wanting to grow your business within your local area or even further afield. It’s a great opportunity to see how much business can be passed by attending networking meetings, with a great number of contacts offering advice, support and business referrals."

Cobblecrete offer peace of mind with a multi trade team, offering building support for domestic properties ranging from bricklaying to extensions, home renovations and building conversions to name but a few of the services they offer to help improve your home.

For more information visit: