MORE than 70 businesses were inspired by a former sportsman with a winning knack for starting up enterprises at a new networking event held at a major visitor attraction near York.

The #NTMY Nice To Meet You event, at the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, was hosted by Business Support York and North Yorkshire (BSYNY), the Federation of Small Businesses and Natwest.

Attendees were inspired by the real-life story of former international rugby player turned entrepreneur Charlie Simpson-Daniel, a self-confessed enthusiast for start-up businesses in the food industry who is busy establishing next generation offerings for major retail outlets.

The former University of York student and England rugby sevens star is the founder of the Kings Brand and New World Foods (Europe), who launched Kings Elite Snacks into Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, ASDA, Aldi, Waitrose, WH Smiths, Boots, Costco, Iceland, B&M and the Co-op across crisps, snacks, food to go, sports nutrition and chilled categories.

Delegates were treated to a free sample of Kings Biltong, and also on show was new product Revolution Waves, a zero-sugar, low-calorie drink range. Mr Simpson-Daniel is also managing director and co-founder of the company behind the drinks, which have been snapped up by Tesco and the Co-op.

Emma Smailes, from the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “It has been great to work collaboratively with BSYNY and Natwest to bring a new type of networking to York. Businesses have been able to meet new faces and secure new business, all in the fantastic location of the air museum and with the inspiration of Charlie Simpson-Daniel. At FSB we know the importance and value of meeting other businesses, so it has been a great way to make new contacts and firm up existing ones.” Mike Everitt, from BSYNY, said: “Delegates found the event really interesting and worthwhile, making lots of new business contacts and drawing inspiration form established successes. It was a great opportunity for us to meet old friends and some new potential clients too.”

Michael Goodwin, from Natwest, said: “It was great to be able to link our business customer to those of FSB and BSYNY, helping them make some really useful business connections.”