Riding the wave: Networking and start-ups
What makes a successful networking event?
Whatever it is, Norwich’s Start Up and Grow Network has it:
A collaboration between Nwes Senior Business Advisor, Victoria Williamson, Larking Gowen, and Ashtons Legal, the Start Up and Grow Network is now in its second year. Meeting quarterly, with a primary objective of providing valuable networking opportunities for business start-ups, Start Up and Grow also invites guest speakers to share their expertise.
I went along to their February event to discover exactly what their winning formula was.
In the informal setting of a city centre bar on a Thursday evening, the room wasn’t just filled with polite conversation; it was buzzing with talk of business, ideas, recommendations, and how and why people decided to take the leap into their own business start-up.
With nearly 60 people booked, and attendance increasing with each meeting, I wanted to know what attracted them to this event, and what they hoped to gain from the evening.
With the bar decorated with fairy lights and candles, it is clear that this is no ordinary networking group. There’s music in the background, friendly bar staff intermittently piercing the conversations with cocktail shakers, and a warm welcome by the Start Up and Grow Network organisers as soon as their guests walk through the door. If anybody was apprehensive about attending, I’m sure their fears would fade as soon as they arrived.
I spoke to several people, all of whom were attending the event for the first time. I talked with them about what appealed to them about the Start Up and Grow Networking event above all others. Their answers included:
- A desire to meet similar people in similar circumstances
- The opportunity to promote their business
- There’s no charge to attend
- The atmosphere is relaxed and informal – not corporate like some other networking events
- Being surrounded by other start-ups doesn’t feel quite so intimidating because there is a lot of common ground
- Reputable guest speakers
- The opportunity to be more aware of business locally
As I looked around, I could see that the attendees really were making the most of the opportunity. Nwes, Larking Gowen and Ashtons Legal have not just created an event, but a space where start-ups can share, connect and shine. It was clear that this relaxed and informal setting, and the atmosphere created by the organisers, is just perfect for networking for start-ups. Business was being done right there (and there’s even free pizzas mid-way through the evening).
One attendee likened starting up a business to riding a wave.
With plenty of ups and downs to a start-up journey, this analogy may be true, but with networking events such as Start Up and Grow, you can be sure of a good surfboard.
The next Start Up and Grow Networking event takes place on 4 May in central Norwich:
Book your place http://bit.ly/StartUpandGrowMay
For more information about networking events offered by Nwes, visit our events page.
Rachel Hogg, Nwes Marketing Coordinator