As a hard-working entrepreneur, it might be difficult to find the time or inclination to attend networking events. However, organized, in-person meet-ups can provide you with some of the best help for your business to develop and grow.

Meeting regularly with other entrepreneurs who share your business interests isn't all about “schmoozing” or only taking advantage of the knowledge of others. It is more about sharing your ideas and expertise with others, or simply connecting with one person in particular. These kinds of exchanges can be a source of inspiration, and can, over time, encourage a culture of innovation.

Use business networking opportunities to:

  • Increase your visibility
  • Develop business relationships
  • Stay current on trends
  • Draw inspiration
  • Access different perspectives and processes
  • Recruit talent

The more people you meet, the more connections you make, and the more your network expands. Don't be shy about getting to know the competition; you might be surprised at the ways in which you can help each other out. After all, coopetition can have many benefits.

There are a number of places you can find meet-up groups based on your interests and other demographics. The criteria can be as broad as “entrepreneurs wanting to network” or as specific as “immigrant businesswomen interested in fashion design”, for example. Whether you're looking to hire an employee or enter international markets, take advantage of these potential sources to find a group that works for you:

  • Online networking services
  • Accelerators/incubators
  • Co-working spaces
  • Community business centres
  • Industry associations
  • Start-up organizations
  • Co-operatives

Find other business opportunities and networking forums on our Business support organizations and Events pages. If you have the resources to do so, you might consider starting a meet-up group yourself. Make sure you have a clear goal in mind, for yourself and for the group, so that everyone can make the most out of the opportunity.