Located on the London commuter belt and listed as an area of regeneration within the Thames Gateway redevelopment zone, the borough of Thurrock is filled to the brim with business opportunities.

Commercial activity in Thurrock is centered on the riverfront hub. It’s home to many large industrial sites including oil refineries, manufacturing industries, container ports and distribution warehouses. The borough’s diversity of industry has cultivated an array of networking clubs where like-minded business people can rub shoulders over a morning coffee, lunch or even a Tai Chi class.

The breakfast club

If you like to start your day with a round of meeting and greeting, join the Thurrock Biscotti. The group meets on the third Tuesday of every month at The Chafford Hundred Brewers Fayre in Grays, Essex. Sessions run from 9:15am until 11:15am, and they’re open to everyone. You’ll find a welcoming atmosphere with plenty of fellow new faces milling around – the group encourages regulars to bring their business colleagues along for drop-in sessions. The morning costs £2.50 per head – and that covers the coffee.

Thurrock Network Group is another breakfast club worth looking into, and it’s particularly suitable for the early birds. They gather at 8am on the third Thursday of every month at the Thurrock Learning Shop, and the meetings usually include a guest speaker. They’ve also organized a ‘netwalking’ group that sets out around 7:30am - but if they encounter bad weather, the walk is replaced by indoor Tai Chi relaxation exercises. Thurrock Networking Group meetings are free, and they welcome representatives from businesses of all sizes.

Ladies who lunch

The Women in Business Network holds lunches for Thurrock’s female business community. These lunches are structured to ensure that every visitor has an opportunity to present a one-minute talk on her business. Attendees are then able to make more efficient referrals and introductions. To keep competition at bay, the organization maintains a “one profession per group” policy. This ensures that members will be able to support one another without vying for the same business. The group meets at the Orsett Hall Hotel on Prince Charles Avenue between 12pm until 2pm once a month, and tickets usually cost about £24.

Member zones

If you find yourself in Thurrock regularly, why not sign up to a local networking group? Lakeside & Thurrock BNI meet every Thursday morning at Langdon Hills Golf & Country Club, just off of the Lower Dunton Road. The group provides a structured, supportive environment for members of the local business community to learn valuable new marketing skills.

Away from the raucous industrial activity, the Park Inn by Radisson, Thurrock is a great place to encounter fellow business travelers. This beautifully refurbished Georgian manor is set on six acres of landscaped gardens and sees its fair share of regular business events. Within easy reach of the borough’s best networking hotspots, it’s an ideal business hotel for your next visit to Thurrock.