Looking to attend networking events in Edinburgh?

Looking to generate more business leads?

If you are a business owner or sales manager in Edinburgh then a good place to go to meet new people and build relationships with other businesses is a networking event.

I found this hard when I first wanted to get out there and meet new people. There are so many events in Edinburgh that trying to find the time to go to them all and see which ones were best was time consuming.

So I have put this list together to help you cut down on your research and give you some of my experiences of networking events in Edinburgh.

Why go to networking events?

They are not for everyone and you need to understand a few things about them.

Most people go because they want to get more business but that won’t happen straight away. Too many people stop going to networking events after only a couple of visits.

Networking is a lot like inbound marketing, with inbound it takes time to build up a relationship with your audience and networking is the same.

People won’t refer businesses that they don’t know and trust.

So stick with it, you will make some new friends.

BNI: Business Network International

bni - Networking Events in Edinburgh

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About BNI

BNI is a little bit different from a lot of other events as it is totally focused on getting your business referrals. BNI is made up of chapters. There are 6 chapters in Edinburgh.

BNI will only allow one person from each industry sector in each chapter in order to avoid competition.

So you may need to shop around to find one that fits you.

When I attended BNI in Dunedin I found everyone to be extremely friendly and helpful and it was really focused on people exchanging referrals. There was also a presentation from one of their members for 10 minutes.

Everyone attending also gets one minute to talk about their own business.

BNI meetings do require a weekly commitment and if you fail to attend two times within a year then you will lose your place. To combat this you can send someone else in your place if you cannot attend.

Some members ask members of other chapters to attend for them.

This can also widen your network if you are asked to attend in the place of someone.


The cost for a BNI membership is around £600 a year. This does also include your breakfast but the hiring of the venue is an added extra. However this can work out a lot cheaper than some other networking events which I have attended.

You can also go along to a chapters meeting for £10 to try it out. A great way to learn if it’s the right event for you without having to fork out £600.

Where are they held?

Breakfast in America Chapter

Edinburgh Marriott Hotel

111 Glasgow Road


EH12 8NF

Meeting day

Every Wednesday at 6:45am


Martin Richardson

01337 860318

Send a message

Britannia BNI (Leith)

Victoria Park House Hotel

221 Ferry Road

Edinburgh Lothian


Meeting day

Thursday, 6:45 AM


Stuart George

07872 197767

Send a message

Dunedin BNI

Edinburgh Marriott Hotel

111 Glasgow Road


EH12 8NF

Meeting day

Tuesday, 6:45 AM


Derek Clark

0131 333 3453

Send a message

In the City BNI

Duddingston Golf Club

137 Duddingston Road West


EH15 3QD

Meeting day

Wednesday 12 noon


Colin Read

Send a message

Nouveau BNI

Edinburgh Marriott Hotel

111 Glasgow Road


EH12 8NF

Meeting day

Thursday, 6:45 AM


Brian Mackenzie

0131 334 6444

Send a message


Edinburgh Marriott Hotel

111 Glasgow Road


EH12 8NF

Meeting day

Friday, 6:45 AM


Mark Ellison

0845 4704003

Send a message

Thrive for Business

thrive business networking edinburgh

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I really enjoyed Thrive when I attended and again everyone was very friendly. Thrive is usually once a month but they do offer other events at different times and they also invite along speakers to each event.

The quality of the speaker when I attended was very high and they gave really interesting talks.

You also get what they call a ‘magic minute’ to give a short talk about your business.

In addition to this, you get an opportunity at the end to say who you would like to connect with.


Thrive offers a trial membership so you can attend and see if you like it without having to pay a fee.

They offer monthly subscriptions from £35-£75 a month plus VAT.

There is also a joining fee which ranges from £195-£995 plus VAT.

Where are they held?

The Royal Scots Club

29-31 Abercromby Place




Katie Kelsall

0141 428 3020



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About Meetup

Meetup is a great way to find people within your industry or that share your interests. You can even start your own Meetup.

Meetup is not just for business networking but can be for anything, friends getting together who share common interests.

Take a look at their website and I’m sure you will find a meeting that fits your needs, if not then why not create your own?


The cost of these meetings vary, some are even free.

Where are they held?

They are held all over the city.

Edinburgh Chambers of Commerce

edinburgh chamber of commerce

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Every city has one and going along to an Edinburgh chambers of commerce meeting can be really fun and a great way to build relationships with other businesses in the city.

Edinburgh chambers of commerce also offers a wide range of benefits. You can see the full list of benefits here.


The cost of membership depends on the size of your business, see some examples below.

Number of employees

£ (ex VAT)

1 to 3


4 to 10


11 to 20


21 to 50


51 to 100


101 to 250


251 to 500


501 to 750


751 to 1000


1001 to 2000


2001 to 3000


3001 plus


Association and Charities


Where are they held?

Edinburgh chambers of commerce are very busy and host events all over the city. They also have events at their business location.

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

40 George Street


Midlothian EH2 2LE


Carol Cairns

0131 221 2981

Send a message

How to get the most out of networking events

Visiting a networking event once won’t give you a feel for seeing if it’s worth your time or not, you need to go a few times to see if it is a good fit for you and your business.

So research the event and see who the members are. Sometimes you can go to a network meeting to discover that most of the people there are in the same sector as you.

The main reason you want to go is to get more business. I get that, but there is no better way to get business than from referrals from people you know and networking can be great for this.

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will know that we talk a lot about inbound marketing and how it’s great for growing your Edinburgh business.

So I asked some business owners in the HubSpot LinkedIn group who have had a lot of experience with networking events to offer some help and advice to get the most out of networking.

My best networking groups were groups that I started myself. I invited people that I knew and trusted implicitly. Our only rule was that there were no rules and no dues. Come if you want. Don’t come if you don’t want. No advertising. By invitation only.”

The logic was if I trusted somebody implicitly and they trusted somebody implicitly, I could probably trust the third party. Our HANG (Holden Area Networking Group) started with 3 members and met every Tuesday for about 2 years. Our high was 40+ members, but we had a couple of hundred visitors over the years. We lost our space and I think the group spun off into a few smaller groups” – Rick Roberge

“I have been attending as many networking events as I have had time to. Different lead groups, BNI’s etc. BNI turned into a speaking gig, and got a couple of leads from that. Like @RickW mentioned, I am looking to do more speaking engagements. Just need to find the right audience. Last night was my second BNI presentation, and I am still shocked at what people just do not know, but are eager to learn.” – Darin Bernston

BNI requires an investment of time that most people don’t actually make. It also requires an investment in others that most people are too short sighted to make. BNI itself is great. But, it’s not much different than HubSpot. Becoming a member is like buying a subscription: you still have to do all of the work.” – Peter Caputa

Now it’s your turn

What’s your experience of attending networking events in Edinburgh?

Do you recommend any that I haven’t mentioned?

We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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