A NEW business network has been set up by business owners keen to boost a local village’s appeal to both residents and visitors alike.

The Princetown Business Network was set up less than two months ago and is already breaking ground in connecting business owners and allowing them to share ideas with one another, working collaboratively to ensure the village is an attractive destination supported by a robust local economy.

Nikki Hirst, who runs The Railway Ramblers Rest in Princetown, was instrumental in forming the network. She said: ‘The networking group has been formed to give us all a chance to get to know each others’ businesses really well and be able to support each other trading locally and working reciprocally. So far we’ve discussed things such as different interviewing techniques, accounts packages and the various systems we use.

‘When you work for a small business, it can be quite isolating but knowing others are around to bounce ideas off can take some tension away. In a way, we are all work colleagues and with the wide variety of skills between us, if we can share, the better that is for our lovely village.’

The group meet on the last Monday of every month (known as ‘Hive Mondays’) with each business taking it in turns to host, using either the methodist chapel or their own venues, also providing them an opportunity to showcase their own products and/or services to neighbouring businesses. The group has currently established a criteria of allowing those to join within a three mile radius of the village but members are currently considering widening their ambit to encompass Merrivile, Burrator and Walkhampton.

There have been two meetings for the network since forming — the first in April and the second in May, the next on June 26. With approximately 20 members optimism is already rife, with a range of things currently happening or on the cards in Princetown, including the re-opening of The Plume of Feathers in July and the pub’s campsite this month, ongoing developments with the whisky distillery, the Fox Tor Cafe being under new management and many businesses investing in making improvements.

This is not the first time that networking opportunities have been set up in the village; an established group met at Dewerstone prior to lockdowns and the Ice Warriors have previously organised drinks events at Christmas.

Nikki, who is from a teaching background with specialist skills in marketing and IT, added: ‘We also welcome anyone wanting to start their own business, there are so many things to consider and many of us have only started up in the last few years. We also welcome representatives from any other organisations. Ultimately, we all want to ensure that Princetown is a great destination for visitors and a fabulous place to live.’

A Facebook group for the network can be found at: https://shorturl.at/oADZ7