The word-of-mouth, referral-based marketing juggernaut that is BNI continues to grow in Adelaide, with BNI Summit the latest chapter to join the BNI Adelaide CBD & South region.

Based in the Adelaide Hills, BNI Summit brings the local Hills business community together to work with each other to grow their businesses.

Executive Director of BNI Adelaide CBD & South, Simon Derrick-Roberts, believes the time was right to expand into the Adelaide Hills.

“We were keen to continue BNIs mandate of building closer business communities, especially outside of the CBD. Several local businesspeople, who had seen the benefits of BNI in the metro area, wanted to create something similar to support their hills community.”

His role, along with Regional Director Tim Allen, has been to support, guide, and coach the foundation members to establish the new chapter. Tim has also helped inspire the founding members to find other like-minded growth and relationship-focused business owners to be a part of the latest BNI business community.

Business in the hills is all about word of mouth. The community is so well connected. BNI is such a great system for taking those business relationships to a deeper level. It seemed a good way to help Hills-based businesses grow their local economy and support each other even more.”


BNI is a global community of business owners with a common goal to build profitable long-term relationships. Tim believes the best form of marketing is a word-of-mouth referral.

“It doesn’t matter if you operate a business in the Adelaide CBD, Adelaide Hills, Mount Gambier or anywhere else. We all have a network of people who can benefit from making connections, and BNI is the most effective and efficient system for making those connections.”

Jack Smart is a local business owner who runs Smarter Web Solutions and is BNI Summit’s inaugural President. He joined because he had heard much about BNI before and attended a presentation by the National Director of BNI Australia, Frederic Marcoux.

“Seeing what kinds of things are taught as part of BNI led me to look for an opportunity to join a BNI group in our area. When I was made aware that a chapter was launching in the hills, I took the opportunity to join and help found the group.”

Incoming Vice President Julie Dunlap from Marketing Works had been invited to a BNI chapter before but commuting up and back meant a lot of downtime.

“I was delighted when I found out BNI was going into the hills. Having a Hills-based chapter is a huge benefit because thats two to three hours of non-productive time I can get back, and I get the opportunity to network with local referral partners.”

Although BNI is essentially business-based, local communities benefit enormously from engaging with local business owners who thrive on building close relationships. Garry Leech is the pastor of Infused Church and joined because he wants to get to know people so that he can recommend their business, product, or service. Likewise, he wants members to understand that, as a church, they’re not about Bible bashing people.

“I want to be in a room with people and businesses that want, at heart, to build and strengthen our community. I want to be in that space where we as a church are challenged not to look internally about just things that benefit the church, but to strengthen every facet of the community.”

Another member who can see the pluses of a Hills-based BNI chapter is Tanya Benlow from Water Balance.

“It just ticks the boxes on every aspect; from being able to network with people to creating new friendships. The  referral system is incredible. Its been an absolute door opener for my business.”

BNI Summit is the first step in expanding the network of BNI chapters into regional South Australia. Simon Derrick-Roberts explains that it’s not about choosing a location but helping local business communities who express a desire to grow.

“We are all about people, not pins on a map. Our two other regional-based projects have both ‘spun off’ through people who visited the Hahndorf group and were excited to create something similar for their local communities. In 2022/23, we’ve had some interest and are connecting with business
owners in Murray Bridge, Mount Gambier, and the Limestone Coast. We also have a core group started in Victor Harbor.”

The last word goes to Jack Smart, who sums up the benefit of a Hills-based BNI chapter.

“BNI will help us grow a community of business owners actively looking to connect and build a collaborative business environment where we look to hills-based businesses to meet our needs rather than going down the hill.”

BNI Summit’s official launch was on 28 September