The Giraffe Network

The Giraffe Network

Seeing Above the Crowd

Business Networking in Carlisle That's Built on Trust


The Giraffe Network is different to other business networking groups in Carlisle and the surrounding area.
We are here to form a trusting relationship with other businesses across North Cumbria. We are not just here to sell our products and services or promote our business. Through this building of trust, we can then combine our skills and contacts, and reach more businesses in the area.

Contact one of our members if you would like to come along and join our small business community

The Business to Business Networking Group
That’s About Connection

Giraffe members are all owners or employees of local businesses. The group welcomes members from almost any trade or profession to share their take on business life. We aren't here to grow the biggest small business network in the area but to create a small community where ideas, problems, challenges and successes can be shared and learned from.

Why “The Giraffe Network”?

For this we have to go back to Paul Thorburn, one of the founding members. He has told us at various times:

"Firstly, the name, I thought seeing over the crowd was something that came to mind and stuck. So, I have been to a lot of network groups, meetings and events. All good and got a lot from them. Some I was a member for years and still am.

I wanted a group that I was able to trust to come and talk about my successes, my failings, my ideas, my thoughts and concerns. I didn’t want to bang on about printers etc (although I probably do) but wanted to talk about what was in my head."

Another phrase that often pops up is to do with not going for the low hanging fruit, but to reach for the succulent opportunities out of reach of the crowd! Long necks help.

“It can be lonely owning a business and
this is a great place to share.”

Our Networking Events Around Carlisle

The group meets weekly for breakfast time at Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Carlisle, Gosling Syke Office



7:00 - 7:25

Member 1 minutes

7:30 - 7:45

Member of the week

7:45 – 7:50

Shout outs

7:50 – 8:00

Knowledge base/ Visitor talk

8:00 – 8:10

Admin & treasury/ Any other business

The meetings are structured around a short "tell us about your week" slot, where we quickly retell what our business is about and then regale the group with stories of our successes, failures, personal highlights and nuggets of learning.

If we have a visitor who is new to the group, we will give them a little longer to go through that process, tell us about their business and answer a few questions. After a break for refreshment top ups, we will then have the member of the week telling us more about their business or exploring a business-related topic that's important to them.

Most weeks we will then also have a business question to discuss. These can be very wide ranging from the practical to the philosophical.

There is a slot for giving shout outs to other members of the group who have offered a lead, some sound advice or carried out great work for the member speaking up. There is no overt peer pressure to deliver leads to other members. We would much rather that happened naturally when one of us is a good fit for the work that's needed.

Finally, the admin is dealt with and the meeting closes in good time for school runs and getting to the office.

People gather around 6:45am for the meeting to start at 7am.

Sometimes we even gather at a different venue to get to know a new place or just give a little local support.

Contact one of our members if you would like to come along and




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Meeting Venue

Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Room 2
Houghton Road

Registered Office

Unit 7 Cooper Way

07815 806978