Urbano Network - London's leading business network for networking events

Exchanging value, connecting communities, creating opportunities

Urbano is London's leading independent business networking community, connecting companies of all sizes and sectors from PLCs to SMEs, in London, the UK and beyond. Urbano hosts a calendar of different events each week, from speaker breakfasts to seminars and workshops, networking lunches and evenings, designed primarily to bring together those representing companies from our business Communities: Build, Media, Finance, People, Host, Tech, and UWACTE (Urbano Women In Architecture, Construction, Technology and Engineering).

Image: Urbano Networking Breakfast in the City hosted by Devonshire Club discussing implications of Brexit (businesses are always optimistic!)

At the heart of Urbano is a networking philosophy gained through 15+ years of connecting thousands of different companies at over 1,000 events since our senior management team – Mark Herring and Caroline Brock - brought their Talent Lab communications agency knowledge and corporate experience to the nascent networking scene in early 2000’s. We call this value exchange.

Mark Herring, Founder of Urbano, has worked within the Media, Finance, Transportation, Hospitality, and Environmental sectors delivering brand and communication projects for a range of clients including Alcatel, Royal Mail, Lloyds Bank, FirstGroup plc and numerous SMEs. Caroline Brock, Director at Urbano, spent over 15 years leading the work winning team at AECOM (and acquired companies) delivering tenders and proposals for engineering, planning, and environmental contracts. This unique insight means our directors and chief facilitators understand the issues facing each and every business that comes into an Urbano event.

Creating social and economic value through our events and weekly tenders service

Urbano is a Talent Lab Production and as Urbano has grown, so has our reach and social impact. We don’t believe in sectors of business. We know that every company has to be helped to make a profit and that new business is the primary value that businesses seek to find through networking, we also believe each company has a responsibility to the environment, our planet, its employees and to each other.

Image: Urbano Speaker & Networking Breakfast featuring Katie Wood at Arup focusing on healthcare, health and wellbeing

The Social Value Act - which came into force in 2012  requires public authorities to have regard to economic, social and environmental well-being in connection with public services contracts; and for connected purposes. From an economic stance, the Government has also pledged to spend £1 in every £3 by 2020 (hopefully this pledge will continue indefinitely).

Before the Social Value Act came into force – and the Government pledge – Urbano has long promoted engagement between companies of similar or different sizes and specialities to explore potential avenues to new business but also to open up supply chains. Our weekly distribution of live private and public  tenders - from creative agency rosters to architectural competitions, workplace design to conference venues – demonstrate our support for our members and their own local economies. We also offer workshops and consultancy to further help members meet the challenges of bidding and win more business often denied companies with brilliant skills and experience but lacking work-winning resources or tendering knowledge.

Creating value through networking and making new connections

Value exchange is what we encourage at every point of contact between our members and other networking event attendees.  No-one knows what each connection can bring to each other and what is most valuable is constantly changing. It may be the need for a new contract for one, or a critical piece of advice for another. It may be finding the right talent to take a company into a new area, or the funding to turn an idea into a viable product.

Image: Urbano Build Speaker & Networking Breakfast hosted by Urbano Member and Supporter - Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP (Image courtsey of Marcos Bevilacqua Photography)

At Urbano we have witnessed how value can change over time and something that may seem worthless becomes invaluable only with the benefit of hindsight. However, by starting with an open mindset – across all levels of the business – we all stand the chance of creating more opportunities, becoming more informed, and more inclusive as a society.

 

Creating a diverse and inclusive network at all levels

Urbano’s speaker events programme has a proud track record of exploring and championing issues affecting business, often before they become mainstream, and from a stand-point of finding opportunities for smaller firms to work with larger ones as we feel both benefit. This includes diversity, sustainability, new technologies and their usage, such as BIM and VR, accessibility, environmental, BREAAM, supply chain transparency, site safety, workplace and wellbeing, design, modern materials, M2M/IOT and crowdfunding etc. 

Image: Urbano Speaker & Networking Breakfast featuring Jacqui Glass on Sustainability in Construction hosted by Urbano Member and Supporter - Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP 

Happily, around 50% of any Urbano event audience is female, many running their own companies or with senior positions at larger companies, and we aim to have at least 90% of guest speakers are also female to match our agenda for true change within business. Our Founder – Mark Herring - leads the speaker programme and has been instrumental in making this happen. It is our belief that if we are to truly inspire, we have to lead by example – be seen, be approachable and be engaged.

 

Creating a new way of working together for a better society

SMEs are a vital ingredient for a healthy market economy and represent 99% of the total number of businesses across the UK. They are responsible for large contributions to value added and employment. Most of these businesses are agile, efficient and driving innovation, particularly next generation leadership, the circular economy, and digital transformation. 

Image: Link to London Networking Podcast by Urbano

Urbano is a small, agile and constantly innovating business ideally positioned to help larger companies truly deliver on their own endeavours to drive economic and people wellbeing and the aims of the social value agenda.

Our engagement is driven by a desire to create fair opportunities not impacted by procurement restrictions, funding criteria or social exclusion.  Our Director – Caroline Brock – also a Social Value Practitioner and members of Social Value UK - has first-hand experience in how this has impacted on tendering for public sector contracts and how much there is still to improve – particularly SME supply chain engagement and transparency, independent non-biased partnerships, and schemes that do not deliver the desired outcomes due to lack of routes to business engagement. Urbano can provide both the map and the means to arrive at any project with B2B business engagement at its core.

 

THE LEADERSHIP TEAM

Mark Herring - Founder & CEO of Urbano Network

Image: Urbano Speaker & Networking Breakfast featuring George Clarke - TV Architect & Founder of MOBI, facilitated and led by Mark Herring, hosted by Saint Gobain Multi Comfort Visitor Centre

As Creative Director and MD of Talent Lab Ltd, Mark worked with a variety of clients, from PLCs to SMEs, on branding, marketing and communication projects. 

His work has included growing Shoreditch Business Network, creating and developing Business Junction before creating Urbano Network and, more recently Brialto - an online business network platform for event managers and network organisers.

Mark trained as a theatre director and use the disciplines of theatre in his work as a consultant to help clients with their branding, marketing and communication strategies and increasingly networking strategies, helping them deliver bottom-line growth. These have included a £1M+ brand development programme, marketing/brand skills workshops, presentation training, script writing and directing of corporate videos, event hosting and even comedy. 

Mark also specialises in helping companies and individuals develop an effective networking strategy for themselves or their staff. He has developed a Strategic Masterclass and training package that helps addresses networking as a seamless part of the marketing mix, having delivered 1,000 events and facilitated connections between thousands of people and companies.

Caroline Brock - Director, Urbano Network

Image: Tendering Workshop delivered by Caroline Brock, Urbano Network in collaboration with Tony Cross, Empiric Partners LLP hosted by Accelerator London 

Caroline is a Director at Talent Lab Limited and leads the memberships, sponsorship, marketing at Urbano alongside tender consultancy support for companies across all sectors.

Caroline prepares the weekly tender digest at Urbano giving members access to relevant open public tenders and opportunities within the network with supporting advice and facilitation for consortia/partnering. This builds on her previous marketing and work winning lead experience with roles held in the build/engineering sectors (more recently AECOM). She runs regular open tendering workshops and provides tender support consultancy to SMEs.

Caroline is also the lead for our dedicated community and events programme for UWACTE (Urbano Women in Architecture, Construction, Technology & Engineering) and Women in Business.

She is also a Social Value Practitioner and Member of Social Value UK, supporting the aims of the Social Value Act to help companies improve their social, economic and environmental wellbeing in the communities they serve. 

Urbano Support Team

Urbano is a lean and agile organisation. Our success in delivering a diverse programme would not be achieveable without thefantastic support team of our web development and data management experts, roster of event hosts and venue partners.

We are proud to have established relationships with a roster of regular business event hosts and long term supporters of Urbano. Their individual experience in events management, executive management and extensive connections – and the fact that they are just lovely, helpful and fun individuals – make them the ideal Urbano network hosts.

STRATEGIC NETWORKING MASTERCLASS TESTIMONIALS

"Well organised with tools and tips you can actually use."
"it was excellent, very useful."
"I came out of the session with thoughts on how I currently approach networking events and what I can change and do to get more out of them. I also found Mark's knowledge and passion for networking infectious."
"Very useful and enjoyable."
"Really enjoyed the pace and content of the workshop!!"
On Mark's Networking Masterclass

SPEAKER TESTIMONIALS

"I loved the event, your energy and enthusiasm and the great audience!
Ann-Marie Aguilar, Director of Operations, International WELL Building Institute 

"Mark invited me to talk at an Urbano event and I am delighted that I agreed to do so. The edgy Hoxton Apprentice venue was jam packed with like-minded dynamic individuals networking, sharing ideas and fostering mutually beneficial business opportunities. I met some incredibly interesting people from a number of diverse sectors who I very much look forward to working with in the future."
Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, Founder of Genius Foods Ltd.

"It was a pleasure to attend the event and to hear about the issues of businesses in London first hand.  It was an excellent networking event and I was very pleased to be able to have so many one on one conversations on some very different but equally important issues.  It was a very helpful event for me and informed my thinking on the policy issues I am raising with ministers."
Anne Marie Morris, MP (Chair of All-Parliamentary Business Group)

"I was a guest speaker at an Urbano People breakfast. It was great to speak to an audience who were both knowledgable about and engaged in the subject, unafraid to ask questions and keen to pick up the threads afterwards. Convivial and focused networking in a relaxed setting."
Graham Snowdon, Editor of The Guardian Work Supplement

"I have a lot of time for Urbano, especially the Urbano Build network. They have a philosophy of "exchanging value" that I find rather empowering. Urbano, run by the redoubtable Mark Herring, offers a safe facilitating vehicle brokering for opportunities for smaller companies to get involved, both with each other, and with larger partners. They champion the cause of the smaller, quality suppliers, especially in areas such as BIM, design and new technologies.  

I always learn something of real value when I'm with them. The companies Urbano brings together are real entrepreneurs - a creative and energising lot to be with."
Jackie Sadek, Chief Executive, UK Regeneration 

 

Urbano Network is a Talent Lab Production

Talent Lab Limited 

First Floor, Vintage Yard
C/O LMG
63 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3XF

Talent Lab Limited is registered in the UK: Company number: 04149198

Urbano Communities

  • Urbano Business

    Business strategy and vision - hear and meet successful entrepreneurs and business leaders

  • Urbano Build

    Networking community for those architecture, BIM, construction, design, engineering, property, & related sectors

  • Urbano Finance

    Business, corporate and personal finance - connecting those who seek it to investors and advisors

  • Urbano Media

    A networking community for those TV, film, animation, advertising, publishing and other media.

  • Urbano People

    Shaping the future of work & the workplace - from leadership, recruitment and HRTech to employment, diversity and wellbeing

  • Urbano Tech

    For those who work across the tech sectors, from digital and apps to hardware and software solutions

  • Urbano UWACTE

    Urbano Women in Architecture, Construction, Technology, Engineering & STEM

  • Urbano Host

    Bringing together those in hospitality, tourism, leisure, bars and restaurants, food and drink

Partners