The BNC and DBF Have formed a partnership to deliver a new range of unique forums to the international MICE market.  The partnership will deliver forums that include UK corporate event managers and UK Event management agencies – all under one roof.

Launching in November 2022 at the Hilton Ageas Southampton, the first joint event will bring together senior events industry professionals across two-days for a series of talks, networking events and experiences.  

The BNC has been running networking forums since 1999 when it held its first annual event at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.  

Since then, it has taken its brand for networking, learning, development and fun and held forums in London and across the UK and in destinations such as: Cyprus, Portugal, and Spain, connecting event suppliers with senior level corporate event buyers to discuss key industry issues in a series of relaxed and informal meetings, campfires, round tables, dinners and excursions. 

The Covid-19 lockdown period gave The BNC’s Managing Director, Kim Paulden, some time to reflect on where to take The BNC Forums for 2022. 


A chance meeting with Michiel and Delphine Fortuin, of DBF, (who happen to live just ten miles from The BNC’s Berkshire base) got the ideas of a partnership rolling.  


“We have such great synergy and the same dedication to the events industry and our alignment can only be of benefit,” said Kim.  

“The BNC Forums have historically been ‘corporate buyer’ only. We offer the very best in networking opportunities to corporate event managers and DBF offer the same to event management agencies. Working in partnership, we can build a unique forum, bringing the whole industry together.” Kim continued. 


To Michiel Fortuin, MD of DBF Events Ltd, combining the two companies’ decades of expertise and experience to deliver a new-style industry Forum ‘makes sense.’  


“It is a classic example of joining forces to create a better and stronger offer.”

DBF Events began just over ten years ago with its first ‘Be our Guest’ programme, an overseas supplier introductory service.  


“The idea came from the fact that many suppliers come to the UK to do appointments with agents and they found (and find) it hard to get 15 appointments in a week,” Michiel explained.  


“We provided a way for them to do this. Also, we keep a ratio of 20 clients and 10 suppliers. This gives a ‘relaxed’ feeling to the clients who are not ‘hounded’ by a group of hungry suppliers. 


“The first event we did was at Chewton Glen and we never thought that this event would run for as long as it has. Since that first one we have run five a year and even had a few years that we did ‘special’ extra events.” 

Both DBF and The BNC are family-run businesses, sharing similar values and principles, each holding the firm belief of ‘putting people first’ and caring about others, whether they are corporates, crew, catering staff or clients.   


“The BNC has been delivering quality networking events and works along the same principals as we do at DBF Events. The best part of this partnership is that we as companies do not "Bite" each other and complement our offering to our buyers and suppliers,” Michiel added.  


“Yes.... our values are similar. DBF Events started with a very simple statement for when it comes to MICE business. We believe that our industry is ‘All about people’ which in short means relationships.  

“Those can only be created by bringing the right industry professionals together and let them during the event build a long term professional and personal relationship.” 


Similar practices that both The BNC and DBF have adopted over the decades involve ‘a personal touch’ from the original invitation stage until long after an event has taken place and when it comes to each event quality – the quality of people/connections, atmosphere and experience is raised above making profit.  


“We do not overbook and/or take extra suppliers (even if it means saying no to extra profit),” Michiel confirmed. “We do not run DBF Events as a ‘corporate’ entity. We really keep it personal and intimate. 

“One of the re-incurring comments we get from our hosts/suppliers and guests/clients is that after their first event that they feel that they are ‘part of the family.’ 


Over the past 25 years as head of The Buyers’ Networking Club, an events industry association, Kim Paulden has heard the word ‘family’ many times as well.  


“Some of our club members have been with us since the beginning because the service we provide is familiar and friendly and focus on them and not us. They often say when they come away on a fam or a forum with The BNC that they’re with old friends and family. For the longest time, before social media, we were one of a few places that event professionals could go to for help and guidance, to escape the isolation of their role. We provided that friendly face and friendship decades ago and we still do to this day.” 

“After everything that we have been through, maybe personally, professionally and as an industry, our new forums will be seen as a great way to communicate and connect with like-minded people,” added Kim.  


“It will be a success and a blueprint for the future of MICE networking events,” said Michiel.

21st-22nd November The Hilton Ageas Bowl, Southampton