Nearly every week I chat with incredible business leaders who share their expertise and a gold mine of knowledge on how they have succeeded in their business. They share their wins, their losses, their successes, their failures and how they overcame their obstacles with grace and humour, and every week I am inspired and I know our attendees are, too. They tell me so — it is a joy to facilitate this process of networking, learning and collaboration. I’m also offering Lunch and Learn sessions every month, sometimes twice a month to help businesses upskill, focus on building digital skills, resilience, and sustainability and innovative practices.

Over the past 22+ years, I’ve launched and advised companies, agencies, government agencies, companies, small businesses and non-profits…for VCs, corporations, governments and businesses large and small on digital and traditional communications and marketing. I am doing this all as a part of my work for My Royal Borough and it is quite simply, a joy.

My recent work has become a bit of a love letter to this beautiful borough. It is American Thanksgiving next week, and although it is not celebrated in my adopted home country, I feel it appropriate to express my thanks to my partners and colleagues for collaborating with us on this engagement. I’ve gotten to know the indies, the locals, all the nooks and crannies…We’ve been working on the engagement for well over a year now and I’m inspired by the innovation and the resilience of the people I’ve met. What started off as a safe shopping engagement — has turned into a digital transformation and community engagement extravaganza.

As we move beyond COVID lockdowns and the uncertainty of Brexit, one thing is clear: our communities have held us together. When challenged by obstacles, we have turned to those we trust and respect to support us and to rebuild. We were initially brought on at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) at the beginning of the COVID lockdown in July 2020 to build local confidence in shopping locally and to reopen the high street safely.

We continue to do this, and are now helping to build resilience, innovation and sustainability in the local business community with a comprehensive place making, training, and digital support programme. 

We are realising our initial vision of creating a digital ecosystem for the business community. But here’s the secret: Technology is not the answer.

Building a sustainable, resilient community is the answer.

Technology supports and enables transformation and rejuvenation. But you can’t rely on the technology to solve all of your problems. Tech can provide data and insights, but you must plan, design, build, implement, promote, share and then do something positive with the insights that are generated. 

I’ve said before (in my MJ article) that businesses, cities and towns should invest in tools to help reach more people, but that is only part of the solution. Projects and campaigns are more likely to succeed with community support — get your customers to be your brand advocates and build a word of mouth economy. It is kind of a no-brainer. 

This is why we work so hard to build community. You can see the work we’ve done for the past year here. It honestly doesn’t cover it all because we’ve done so much more since we were nominated for that Drum Award.

Since then, we have started delivering a comprehensive training and placemaking programme in Windsor and Maidenhead to support economic development and rejuvenation. From illuminated instameets, to supporting the creation of a digital business collaboration hub, to hosting comprehensive digital upskilling training, we are building an engaged business community.

We’ve invited these award winning founders and entrepreneurs to share their insights with us during our Breakfast Briefings and are also offering “bite-size”, intensive lunch and learn sessions that provide businesses with a masterclass in going digital, innovation, and building resilience. You can review our lessons learned, which I recap after every 30-minute chat.

We’ve received excellent feedback from businesses who have attended our masterclasses and here is a round up of what we learned from our brilliant guest speakers at our Breakfast Briefings. I hope you’ll have a look at our programme.

How to help local businesses this Christmas

Shopping Locally helps to bring our community closer together, to be more sustainable, and to be more resilient.

We recently launched a shop local Christmas Guide, Indies A to Z in support of local borough independents. Our guide features indies across the borough leading up to Small Business Saturday on 4th December.

We’ve invited businesses and residents to sign a Shop Local, Support Local Pledge to show their support of My Royal Borough businesses. The community has a few options for showing their support: they can sign the pledge, they can share their comments with us and we create a bespoke post that they can share on their social media channels, or they can download and share our pledge.

We ❤️ To Promote Innovation

As a Small Biz 100 ourselves, we are a champion for U.K. Small Business and local communities. We promote best practices on our channels and share thought leadership to help local communities recover. We encourage small businesses, BIDs, non profits and councils to share their accomplishments with us at @bedigikind (or email us) to be featured. We’ve promoted each of the Small Biz 100 across our channels and our next campaign is to focus on promoting sustainable makers and practices, like Blue Patch makers. Who’s with us? 🍃 

Teamwork makes the dream work

I am really proud to work with our wonderful clients and communities across the UK. Our work for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has been recognised by The Drum Awards for PR and we were shortlisted as finalists in 2021. We are really proud of our work and will continue to bring the innovation and creativity. Tell us what you’re working on and we’ll be happy to share it. That’s what it’s we are all about.

Have a great weekend and if you’re up for a collab, let us know. We are here for it.