A BUSINESS and networking group is predicting it will generate an increased amount of income for local companies in 2014.
At the last meeting of Leek's Westwood Business Networking Institute (BNI) the group opened its doors to visitors who included councillor Linda Malyon, a driver recruitment agency, a telephone answering service, an organic beauty consultant, a data network installer, an electrical appliance tester, a contract cleaning company and an insurance broker.
Visitors were treated to four short presentations by Westwood members on topics ranging from business planning, haulage and logistic operations, employment legislation, IT software protection and photographic profile images on websites and social networks.
Membership co-ordinator Andy Vaines said: "We want to show a commitment to businesses in Leek.
"By networking in this way, we have been able to create new opportunities for local firms as well as showcase our services."
Members of Westwood BNI, part of Business Network International, the world's most successful networking organisation, passed over £245,000 in invoiced work during the last 12-month period.
Chapter chairman Andrew Dukesell, of DBD Architectural Consultancy in Leek, said: "Our success in generating new business is good news for the local economy and all the people whose jobs depend on it.
"Considering the national press reporting difficult trading condition, we are very pleased with results, especially when you bear in mind, the income generated doesn't take account of the access to expert advice from other members, much of it given free of charge."
"Other members of Westwood BNI include a solicitor, a building contractor, an accountancy firm, a photographer, a fabricator, a mortgage broker/financial advisor, a website developer and an HR consultant.
"We are looking for an electrician, plumber, marketing consultant, landscaper and carpenter to join our group to pass business to."
The group meets on Thursdays, between 6.45am and 8.30am.
For more information about Westwood BNI, call Andrew Dukesell on 01538 383118.