New networking movement

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An East Midlands virtual networking movement that has built up thousands of followers on Twitter is moving into the real world.

Over a number of years hundreds of entrepreneurs and businesses have taken to the social network Twitter to take part in #eastmidlandshour.

Run every Wednesday between 8pm and 9pm Belper businessman Mike Handley, it brings businesses together to promote their services and share good practice across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

Now the entrepreneur has set up Look We Can, to move the networking group from the virtual world to face to face meetings.

The aim is to build up a network which provides support and understanding where members can help each other to thrive in their respective businesses.

The inaugural meeting was held at The Nuthall, just off junction 26 of the M1, on Wednesday, January 14.

It attracted businesses from a range of sectors including financial services, apprenticeships and further education, sales and marketing, graphic design and media and public relations.

Founder Mike Handley runs his own graphic design agency in the town.

He said: “With #eastmidlandshours proving such a big success with 16,000 followers, I wanted to harness that huge following on Twitter and move it into actual face to face networking.

“Look We Can is quite a simple concept – I believe that we as business people can connect, communicate, share, support and build trust and mutual understanding to forge good relationships.

“When you have built up the trust and are happy in recommending other peoples services and products then we all win.”

Mike started his graphic design agency with wife Liz in 1998.

Prior to setting the business and online networkign, Mike worked in sales, marketing and retail management. Wife Liz worked in sales for well known brands such as Alfreton-based Thorntons.

Mike said the business world has seen many changes since those days.

He said: “The business world has changed over the years with the power of the internet being a catalyst. We have moved with the times embracing the changes in digital marketing, social media and mobile apps.”

Look We Can will meet fortnightly at The Nuthall for breakfast meetings between 8am and 10am.

For more information visit or call Mike on 01773 599159.