B4 50th Timeline

At a meeting with John Kennedy, then of Darbys (now Knights), Colin and Richard Rosser agreed to launch a quarterly business magazine aimed at giving Oxfordshire businesses a profile in high quality print. John came up with the name B4, standing for Building Bridges Between Businesses and commented.

November 2005 – B4 is Born!

John Kennedy explains his thinking. “We wanted to create a Business Magazine that could be a platform to communicate effectively, empower relationships and genuinely support and build business. Connecting and building businesses does not need to be a daunting walk on a tightrope for business leaders – it can be a solid pathway to bridge the boundaries that keep businesses separate and limit opportunities and growth.. Our vision was to Build Bridges Between Businesses and enable business people to cross barriers in a trusted and supported way – hence our final title…B4.”

Simon Howson-Green, the editor of Issue 1 recalls. “B4 began life in the days when print media titles were beginning to fade over the horizon of the traditional publishing landscape. Despite this, B4’s birth was noisy, impactful, attention grabbing and significant. It was what the Oxford business community needed. It grew up fast, changed the rules and evolved into an iconic force in the digital age. A decade later B4 – in all its guises – is still setting trends and has influence and value. It was a real privilege to have been part of the team which brought B4 kicking and screaming into the business world. It was also a lot of fun.”

Colin Rosser, B4’s Chairman, remembers. “In the early days our publishing company produced entirely consumer facing publications, like ‘In Oxford Magazine’, ‘The Oxfordshire Restaurant Guide’ and ‘The Best in Oxford’. It wasn’t until 2004, when we produced our first ‘Black Book’ which was an annual ‘Who’s Who’ of local business men and women, that we looked to the business world. This was very well received and set us on the path of thinking about producing a more regular business to business publication. Hence the birth of B4, which was not only to become just a magazine, but a thriving business community that continues to connect businesses and people in print, on line, face to face and through social media.”

Richard Rosser, B4’s CEO admits it’s been quite a journey. “We knew there was an opportunity to provide Oxfordshire’s business community with something different but we had no idea B4 would develop the way it has. From what was meant to be a collection of Newsletters, B4 has taken on a life of its own with a growing community of members and some fantastic events over the years. We are really proud of what we have achieved to date, but we’re only just beginning.”

Keith Simpson, the man behind the look of B4, commented “B4 was a major leap forward from the projects we were doing at the time. It was something new and exciting to design. As it has grown, its style has grown, and I think its clean, colourful, less corporate feel, has made the magazine something that people want to pick up, read and be seen in.”

June 2006 – Issue 1 of B4 is out!

Issue 1 of B4 is launched with a core of supporting companies including Jayne Woodley, then of Barclays and now CEO of the Oxfordshire Community Foundation backing the new title.

The magazine was launched on the terrace at Malmaison with over 100 guests.

March 2007 – B4 Website goes live

The first B4 website was launched providing a site where B4 magazine could be viewed electronically.

May 2007 – B4’s first Networking Event at Malmaison

Almost a year on from the launch of B4 on the terrace at Malmaison, over 100 guests crammed into the Visitor’s Room at Malmaison for a spontaneous, one off, networking event. It was the first of many.

April 2011 – Venues Guide Launch

Oxfordshire is packed full of fascinating venues and this brand new supplement to B4 provided them with a fantastic opportunity to gain excellent profile.

9th June 2011 – 5th Birthday celebrations at Blenheim Palace

The B4 team cut their 5th Birthday cake in the fantastic surroundings of Blenheim Palace.

2012 – B4 branches into Berks and Bucks

Having secured a foothold in Oxfordshire, B4 expands to Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

2nd to 4th June 2012 – B4 Paris to Oxford Bike Ride

A team of 20 B4 members and staff cycle 280 miles from Paris to Blenheim Palace raising over £6,000 for local charities.

23rd to 27th May 2013 – B4 Edinburgh to Oxford Bike Ride

As if 280 miles wasn’t enough, with the support of De Vere Hotels and Browns, a team of 30 riders and support crew completed a fantastic 428 mile cycling adventure, raising over £10,000 for charity.

2014 – B4 consolidates into one magazine and goes bi-monthly

The expansion into Berks and Bucks wasn’t quite what we expected so we decided to print one magazine more frequently for all three counties.

2014 – Launch of Business in Oxford

Having been approached by Cllr Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, to help connect the Council with the business community, we launched Business in Oxford at Saïd Business School with over 300 delegates attending our inaugural event.

2015 to 2017 inclusive – Marathon Man

CEO Richard Rosser completes three London Marathons in aid of CLIC Sargent (twice) and Helen & Douglas House raising over £5,000.

November 2016 – runners up in Santander Financial Media Awards

Sitting alongside the might of The FT and The Economist, B4’s hard work pays off with the runners up slot at these prestigious awards held in London.

December 2017 – B4 on the move

Having established B4 in the family home in Headington, B4 moves to Weston-on-the-Green to new premises with our own brand new offices scheduled to open in January 2018 – we can’t wait!!

January 2017 – PM recognises B4’s 10th Anniversary

Prime Minister David Cameron presents B4 with a 10th Anniversary certificate.

October 2017 – B4 Advisory Board meets for the first time

Over 20 B4 members convene at the fantastic Ashmolean Museum for B4’s first Advisory Board meeting to help shape the future development of B4.

December 2017 – Over 200 B4 guests entertained in one week

On Monday 4th December we hosted almost 90 guests in a wonderful black tie dinner at the Divinity School, one of Oxford’s oldest venues. On Thursday 7th December, Sir Jonathan Bate OBE, Provost of Worcester College, welcomed over 130 B4 Members and their guests to the superb Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre for a fantastic B4 Classic Event.

December 2017 – we’re 50!

B4 celebrates its 50th edition and looks forward to another 50….really?! Gulp!

We Have Held Events At Over 40 Venues:

Ashmolean
Aylesbury College
Blackwell’s
Blenheim Palace
Bodleian Library
Bombay Sapphire Distillery
British Gas HQ
Bucks New University
Christ Church College
Divinity School
Donnington Valley Hotel
Examination Schools
Hawkwell House
Heythrop Park
Holiday Inn Peartree
Macdonald Randolph Hotel
Malmaison
Milton Hill House
Modern Art Oxford
Newbury Racecourse
North Oxford Garage
Oakley Court Hotel
Oxford Town Hall
Pembroke College
Rhodes House
Said Business School
Sheldonian Theatre
St Anne’s College
St Antony’s College
The Compleat Angler
The Forbury Hotel
The Globe, Oxford
The King’s Centre
The Oxford Union
The Vineyard
TOAD
Unipart
Weston Library
Williams Conference Centre
Worcester College

B4 Stats

Total copies of magazines OVER 250,000
Total unique views of website OVER 500,000
Total number of guests through B4 events 7,920 attendees
Total number of views on ISSUU Over 500,000
Social Media Connections Over 20,000
Estimated business through B4
Estimated over £10 million with at least £1 million of businesses conducted between members per annum

B4

B4 provides platforms for our growing and diverse community of members to connect, learn, raise their profile, inspire and be inspired to become better businesses.

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