An innovative online community for businesses in the north-east has reached a significant landmark with the announcement of its 5,000th member., run by business development and networking specialist Aberdeen Business Network (ABN), is a free-to-use member website dedicated to supporting the growth of other businesses and organisations.

Described as Aberdeen’s own version of LinkedIn, ABNCommunity is Scotland’s largest independent online business community. The membership encompasses all business sectors in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, from one-person companies to multinationals, as well as the education, public and charity sectors.

ABN director Andrew Smith is a finalist for the Alick Buchanan-Smith Enterprising Communities honour as part of the Elevator Awards 2015. The ceremony will be held on Thursday, June 25 at the Mercure Ardoe House Hotel, just outside Aberdeen.

Andrew Smith said: “We’re absolutely delighted that ABNCommunity has now passed the 5,000 members mark. The membership has been absolutely fantastic in encouraging their friends, colleagues and associates to join us all online.

“We now have a very significant community where the number of potential contacts for each member has grown and grown. To date, the amount of new business won by members now exceeds £8million which is a tremendous reward for everyone who has helped build the community.

“At the heart of everything we do, ABNCommunity remains exactly that - a community where members get to know, like and trust each other. It’s then inevitable that such a large amount of new business has been won by members.”

Since its launch in July 2008, ABNCommunity has grown from a standing start to in excess of 5,000 members. Users of the platform can tap into the wider group’s expertise to seek advice and recommendations on common business problems such as which suppliers to use.

In addition, the community continues to grow at an average rate of more than 100 new members every month, largely through word of mouth. The business is already turning attention towards its next target - doubling membership to 10,000 people.

In 2014, Andrew Smith won the Entrepreneurial Supporter of the Year honour as part of the Grampian Awards for Business Excellence, organised by Enterprise North East Trust.

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