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Evolve’s 2021 in review

Young couple standing and looking at beautiful landscape on top of mountain

As we continue to (hopefully) emerge from the pandemic, 2021 saw a return to a kind of normality. And what was clear, is that we really missed face-to-face contact. Whether it was having coffee with a friend, enjoying a summer barbecue or simply having a business meeting in a physical space, 2021 allowed us to make up for lost time and take pleasure in the simple things.

Evolve founder Warren Munson’s mantra is, “Put like-minded people in a room and great things happen,” and this year we were delighted to be able to live and breathe that principle through our events and peer groups, among other things. As in 2020, the enthusiasm and engagement we’ve received through our services and content has been wonderful to experience, as well as continued affirmation of the value we’re always striving to provide for our supporters.

Here’s a look at some of our more significant moments in 2021…

The Evolve to Succeed podcast reaches 10,000 unique views and surpasses 100 episodes

podcast recording equipment microphone

Since its launch in late 2019, the Evolve to Succeed podcast has endeavoured to bring you compelling stories and insights from entrepreneurs, business leaders and experts in their field. As well as an array of business people, other guests included a Vendée Globe skipper, a multiple stand-up paddle board record holder, and a former England Rugby 7’s captain. In March, the podcast hit 10,000 unique views, and the 100th episode—in which the microphones were turned on host Warren Munson—was published in November. We look forward to bringing you more guests in 2022.

Evolve wins more peer groups in Dorset

Person raising hand to ask question at event

Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Peer Networks is a national initiative set up in late 2020, designed to bring SME business leaders together in facilitated sessions to share their experience and expertise. In the first round of the programme—presented in late 2020 and early 202—Evolve supported more than 90 business leaders with its monthly, virtually delivered, peer groups.

As a result of the huge success of these peer groups, Evolve was awarded nine Peer Network cohorts for the Dorset LEP; we were also allocated four groups for the Solent LEP. Working virtually in cohort groups of 11, sessions were facilitated by experienced business coaches and focused on key areas of business development. Each participant was also supported with dedicated one-to-one support, allowing them further opportunity to digest and discuss aspects of running and growing a business.

Reconnecting the business community with a Leaders Lunch

Warren Munson and John Kingwell speak at the lunch
Warren Munson and Rear Admiral John Kingwell CBE

On October 1, Evolve welcomed a return to face-to-face events with a three-course Leaders Lunch at Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel.

Before an audience of more than 80 guests, Rear Admiral John Kingwell CBE—strategic advisor to the British Ministry of Defence—spoke on long-term global trends in a post-Covid world, how they will affect your business and what you can do to be prepared for all eventualities.

The lunch also saw the launch of Evolve’s Leaders Community. Click here for more information.

BCP Evolve Business Festival

alastair humphreys on stage with his deathclock ticking down in the background
Alastair Humphreys

Evolve rounded off 2021 with an eight day business festival that drew in more than 300 industry leaders and entrepreneurs to inform and inspire, as well as create important discussions around the current and future state of business in the South. Funded by BCP Council’s Bounce Back Fund, the free-to-attend festival was designed to help business owners and leaders recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Things kicked off on the evening of November 17 at Pavilion Dance, where British adventurer Alastair Humphreys spoke to a rapt audience about his mighty expeditions over the years, but more importantly about the ‘microadventure’—a concept he invented which encourages people to find adventure on their doorstep.

The following evening saw five entrepreneurs talk to students at Bournemouth University about the journeys that led them to start their own businesses. This was followed by a highly-engaging Q&A session from our business leaders of the future.

The next few days were filled with two Round Table breakfasts, a ‘Going Green’ event—in which business owners revealed how they’ve made their businesses more sustainable—and a webinar on building resilience with life coach Becki Houlston, a fun and intimate ‘Fuel & Perform’ lunch with nutritionist Barbara Cox, and a breathwork webinar with meditation expert Kate Hughes.

Two stand-out events with the BCP Council were the Future of BCP morning at the Council Chambers in Poole, and the BCP Symposium at the Vitality Stadium. The aim of both these events was to bring together a large number of business leaders from a variety of sectors to discuss the current state of play within the BCP area, and how, as a collective, business and economic growth can progress and flourish.

The results of this symposium have been be published in a white paper. Get your copy here.

Evolve founder Warren Munson said, “There’s no denying 2021 was another challenging year, but it also presented many moments of positivity and hope for the future. I am proud of the way Evolve has continued to not only bring together and support the local business community, it’s been great to see and experience that face-to-face engagement again. Whatever 2022 brings, we will continue to bring this same level of support and encouragement to entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

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