Abi Bowden and Bo Adeyemi Case Study

1.    What appealed to you about joining gdb?

Abi: Matthew Tyson from Richard Place Dobson was the very first person I met in Sussex outside of my team when I moved from Guildford to Crawley in 2021 and in the hour we spent with a coffee “to have in” which was a novelty at the time! – I already knew so much about gdb, its huge membership network of businesses and variety of events that I knew I needed to join.


2.    What was the thing that surprised you about gdb?

Bo: The energy of the organisers is infectious. This carries through to the members who cover a wide range of business sizes and industries, but ultimately they are down to earth people who are very willing to help each other out for the benefit of the local community. For those who are new to networking and find it daunting, gdb is a breath of fresh air.

Abi: How genuinely interested members are in developing mutually beneficial relationships and doing business together, I have yet to experience this on the same scale anywhere else.


3.    What’s the biggest single thing you’ve got from being a member of gdb?

Abi: Brand exposure – when we opened our big glass doors in Queens Square at the end of 2018, we hadn’t been open long before the country went in to a series of lockdowns and when I moved over from Guildford to lead the Crawley team in 2021, the town centre was still incredibly quiet so it was important to show everyone that we were here, open for business and that we were different. Being part of gdb has opened many doors for us and their events are always key dates in our diaries.

Bo: We chose Crawley for our 65th store in 2018 as it’s situated in the centre of the thriving Gatwick area. Joining gdb’s members meetings in a different location each time has been a great way for me to become even more familiar with the towns where our customers are located. It’s enabled us to understand the needs of the business community more quickly and offer more bespoke solutions, whether that is from Metro Bank directly or from a connection in our network.


4.    What difference has being a member of gdb made to your business?

Abi: It’s made a huge difference. We’ve met connections who have become our customers, we’ve introduced members to our own customers to forge new trusted supplier/client relationships and I’ve brought along many of our colleagues to join the members meetings and business breakfasts to develop their confidence and skills in networking with local businesses.


5.    gdb puts on lots of different types of events - what’s your favourite?

Abi: The Members Meeting is a great opportunity to meet new joiners and guests and I love the buzz at these events. I do also really enjoy the Connected Crawley event linking Crawley Town Centre BID and Manor Royal BID businesses to gdb members.

Bo: The educational seminars are really useful for spotlighting businesses and sharing knowledge. Then again, I also really enjoy the full English breakfasts at Crawley College! 


6.     What’s different about gdb compared to other networking you do?

Bo: gdb Ambassadors are always present to put you in front of the right person when you need it.

Abi: I completely agree with Bo – and it’s impossible to be shy at gdb as you always have great, well-connected people there to encourage you.


7.    What’s your top tip for getting the most out of networking?

Abi: Check out the attendee list that Keeley sends around, it’s a great way to plan who you might want to speak to, to get the best out of each event.

Bo: Be willing to give as well as receive. The businesses you help will remember you for that.


8.    Besides the events, what else do you get out of your gdb membership?

I am part of the Diamond Leaders for Growth Programme which offers members a peer group for focused business support and training. This programme has allowed me the time to focus on my business and lean on peers to support the growth of DigiBubble, as well as tackle specific issues. As well as this, Gatwick Diamond Business has given us access to marketing and promotion opportunities. This has helped us to raise our profile and attract new customers.

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