Above Image: © Suzanna Fells Photography
‘In private apartments of Their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Rutland in the Regent’s Gallery at Belvoir Castle’

KuKu Connect marked their third year anniversary with a dazzling region-wide Connect Reception to celebrate connecting businesses and entrepreneurs across the East Midlands at the stunning Stoke Rochford Hall. The luxurious event is one of the key business events of the year to be invited to, which is attended by business leaders and influencers, dignitaries, diplomats and even a representative of Her Majesty The Queen. So we got together with KuKu founders Stephen Goddard and Philip Brooks-Stephenson to tell us their recipe for success.

KuKu seems to have really grown over the past year and enjoys a hugely popular reputation for business people – why do you think business owners come to KuKu for their networking?

“One of the top reasons we hear from our Members is that they really enjoy being able to make valuable business connections with like-minded business people, not only do you have the opportunity to do business, but you’re also able to talk, share and learn from one another. We really foster the concept of building authentic business relationships, so you build up vital trust with your KuKu connections and that is so powerful.” Says Philip

“One other really important feature is that our community of businesses enjoy coming to KuKu – we visit a different venue or business every single month, often some of the top and most luxurious venues in the region like Belvoir Castle, places like Dovecliff Hall, Amalfi White, Prestwold Hall, but we also combine the quirky and modern to the historical and rural. We’ve done Game with Ralph Skripek at the Butler’s Pantry, glittering jewels with top British jewellery designer David Fowkes, the best burgers in town with Annie’s Burger Shack, to Derby Cathedral, Gincident and Everyman Barbers – our Connect Reception hosts are so important, as it turns networking into more of a lifestyle, and of course our business Members, gain access to each of these exclusive events every single month.” Says Stephen

“By mixing a little pleasure with business, not only helps make networking more relaxed, more natural, but it creates a great vibrancy which is not only friendly and welcoming, but crucially effective for business and I think that is a key point for us, we aren’t a social club, as much as our Members become friends, we always want to ensure we are supporting businesses to aspire, develop and grow and that is where our passion for businesses and the region’s business community lies.” Says Philip


So, we know KuKu is so much more than just networking, but what else do you support businesses with?

“Members of KuKu Connect have an array of benefits; they receive a Privilege Card which opens up first class offers, discounts and incentives to lifestyle and professional services, but also special invitations to private receptions, dinners, launches and other business events. In the summer we were invited to Chatsworth to a military band and marching performance, which the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire hosted, so we were able to invite some of our members to join us for this fantastic evening, where we bumped into Mary Berry and Alan Titchmarsh who were also there as guests, along with Lord Burlington, the current High Sheriff of Derbyshire. We are very fortunate to be invited to such events, but this is all part of the wider aspects to KuKu Connect.” Says Stephen

So, what’s your networking secret?

“I don’t think we have a secret, as such, we just have a passion for people and supporting people in business, it comes from the heart from us both and we enjoy meeting all sorts of people. If there is one thing that we can impart to anyone with life or business aspirations it’s to always be networking, or connecting as we like to call it – connect in life, as you never know who you will meet, who that person might know or be able to introduce you to – I think that is one skill that all entrepreneurs learn or do it naturally, don’t just wait for a networking event, so get connecting today.” Says Philip

“If I can give one bit of advice, it is to be yourself, be natural, don’t put on a façade, don’t be too serious and business like, as people buy from people and they build relationships with people they like.” Says Stephen.

Finally tell us what do you having coming up on the next few months and in 2020?

“Well we have an exciting year ahead, with a number of innovations, opportunities and of course some more fabulous venues for our monthly Connect Receptions, but our Connect Receptions hosts are always secret until their month of hosting, but we will have a special Royal anniversary coming up in Derbyshire, more prestigious events and we are already planning our fourth year celebration, so lots to come, but that’s all I can give away.” Says Stephen

Well there we have it, if you want to mix business with a whole lot of pleasure then connect with KuKu today. Our business readers can attend a Connect Reception once as our free guest, so if you’d like to check out a Connect Reception please contact The KuKu Team:



FACEBOOK: @KuKuConnect

TWITTER: @KuKuConnect

INSTAGRAM: @kukuconnect

Connect with Stephen and Philip on LinkedIn!
Stephen Goddard
Philip Brooks-Stephenson

IMAGES: © Saul Morgan Trent House Studios