The Basingstoke and Deane Business festival—hosted by Evolve, in collaboration with Business South, and funded by the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council—opened on June 16 with an intimate evening at The Ark Centre.

Guests were enthralled and entertained by National Geographic explorer Alastair Humphreys’ account of his epic cycle around the world, as well as his philosophy behind of the micro-adventure and how anyone can bring a little bit of adventure to their every day life.

In one of his more thought-provoking passages, Alastair said: “I found myself here, in the middle of the Nubian Desert, thinking, ‘This is ridiculous—I’ve got from my front door to Africa on my bike.’ And now, long after I got back from my trip, when ‘normal life’ is grinding me down a bit, I just look out my front door and the street I live on and think, ‘This is the road to Africa, or China, or wherever you want to go.’ If you set out from your front door on your bike, you can get anywhere on the planet!”

The festival continues until tomorrow (June 22) with Development Workshops on Strategies for Growth and Leadership and Influence, ‘The New Hybrid Way of Working’, a ‘Breathwork Practice’ webinar with Tracey Howes, ‘The Future of Basingstoke and Deane’, and an Economic Update with Andrew Holder from the Bank of England. More events will follow in the autumn.

Funding for the festival forms part of the council’s quest to bring businesses together and support them following the effects of the pandemic.

Evolve founder Warren Munson said: “This will be the third business festival we’ve hosted and, as always, the aim is to bring business leaders and entrepreneurs together to learn, collaborate and improve both their professional and personal lives. Our previous festivals have been a great success, with guests coming away informed and inspired. We’re excited to be partnering with Business South to be enhancing the state of business in the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.”

Leigh-Sara Timberlake, group CEO from Business South Group said: “We’re delighted to be working with Evolve to deliver the Basingstoke and Deane Business Festival, funded by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. With such a diverse range of guest speakers lined up across the week it’s set to be an exciting set of events. We're actively encouraging entrepreneurs and business leaders across the region to get involved to not only be inspired but also make new connections with businesses across the region.”

Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Cllr Simon Bound said: “Our borough’s business community plays a vital role in ensuring Basingstoke and Deane continues to be a great place to live, work and visit.

“We are delighted to be working with Evolve and Business South to host this dedicated festival which will bring our businesses together. With a fantastic and diverse line-up and workshops during the week, we would encourage businesses to book now to avoid disappointment.”

All events are free. Details and sign-up can be found on