Jeni Smith

Jeni Smith

Jeni Smith NetKno Professional networking support via training, coaching, consultancy to build confidence, provide tools and knowledge, and create strategies. Jeni Smith has over 16 years’ experience in networking strategy and is currently embarking on a PhD at Durham University researching the relationship between networking event anatomy and entrepreneurial narratives.

Jeni truly believes that networking has the ability to change people’s lives, unlock hidden potential, spark world-changing ideas and be the catalyst for positive change: all starting with a simple "Hello".

During her career, Jeni has won several awards in enterprise including being named one of the Future 100 Young Entrepreneurs in the UK, winning the Growth Accelerator Programme, and becoming a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2021 & 2022, and has been named by The Telegraph and NatWest as one of their 100 Women to Watch.

Between 2017-2019 she conducted two rounds of academic research with Durham University, exploring her unique, strategic business networking model. The research results spurred her on to launch NetKno and are what we now use to develop our bespoke networking strategies.

Speaker / Contributor Topics

Here are some topics I am extremely confident in delivering talks and/or contributing towards any way:

  • Networking
  • Networking for careers / innovation
  • Networking in lockdown / through a recession
  • Women in business
  • PhD journey
  • Launching in lockdown
  • Tech start-up 
  • Women in tech
  • My entrepreneurial journey
  • My personal journey


As a brief overview, here’s some more information on my experience and background:

  • Originally from a small village near Carlisle, at 18 I moved to Fiji where I lived with nuns and worked in a deaf school
  • Studied Business & Finance at Liverpool’s JMU
  • I’ve been networking since 2006, including a year as a full-time networker in Liverpool (my first business) and launching a networking group in Cumbria
  • I was named ‘Future 100 Young Social Entrepreneurs’ in the UK in 2010, and ‘Growth Accelerator Programme’ winner in 2012
  • North East StartUp Awards finalist 2021
  • Finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2021 & 2022
  • Inspiring Female Awards finalist, North East Chamber of Commerce 2022
  • Named one of the 100 Women to Watch by The Telegraph and NatWest 2022
  • Having created my own networking ecosystem hypothesis, Durham University Business School conducted two rounds of academic research into in through their MBA programme
  • Started my own PhD at Durham University Business School Oct 2022 researching the relationship between networking event anatomy and network diversity
  • Working for Sunderland Software City I spent three years support the North East tech community
  • Studied for a level 1 in British Sign Language in 2019 whilst pregnant with first child
  • Following maternity leave launched Networking KnoWho in April 2020 just as the world went into lockdown
  • Launched strategic networking SaaS platform in May 2021 - relaunching in Jan 2023 following user feedback 
  • Mentor for The Girls Network and volunteer Careers Enterprise Advisor
  • I’ve been sober since June 2018 and strongly believe sobriety has had a huge impact on my personal and professional life

Contact Information