Face to face networking is still a favourite marketing tool amongst businesses. Creating a business community, expanding your social network and finding the all important contacts. Kent Foundation holds an annual event to promote the importance of this, offering young entrepreneurs free exhibition space and the chance for businesses across Kent to develop that link in the business chain.
With over 150 young people and businesses in attendance the evening went off to a flying start. The room soon filled up, and with all those like minded people in one place their was a certain buzz about the room. Don’t forget the amazingJosh Woodcock providing magic to add that extra sparkle to the evening!
This was when the serious networking really began. A fun and interactive approach to speed networking – Blast Off! was introduced by Paul Barron – Director of Kent Foundation. Do you ever find it difficult to pinpoint those who might of interest to your own business? A unique approach was implemented, questioning the audience in order to identify those from various business sectors. Hands were raised as the questions were asked. Eyes scanned across the room, with businesses taking a mental note of who their were going to approach. Blast Off! businesses had five minutes to swap cards, information and gain that all important face to face contact. Now just to follow up those leads!
A message was delivered that entrepreneurship needs to be promoted as a realistic career choice. It is important to recognise that young people are starting businesses now and having support enables them to have an increased chance of success. Talking about success takes us on to the next part of the evening:
KAYE Success Session (Kent Association of Young Entrepreneurs) – Jonnie Jensen committee member of KAYE presented interviews with previous winners of the KEiBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. We found out why they started a business, the struggles of a start up, the rewards of owning your business and the the fun parts too. Video coming soon…
Luke Quilter of Sleeping Giant Media – Winner 2011
Craig Harrison of Aquaread – Winner 2012
The Entrepreneur Profiling Tool – presented by Alex Kofinas introduced and questioned who would become an entrepreneur? Is it in our genes, personality, background, networks or learning patterns. The Profiling Tool is being designed to answer some of these questions and discover the traits of an entrepreneur. The benefit of such a tool is that it will help identify areas where young entrepreneurs are lacking support, this can then be tailored to suit their needs and increase their chances of business success.
Time To Celebrate!
With a fantastic turnout of young entrepreneurs showcasing their businesses there was an added bonus of winning a Peer Award. Young entrepreneurs voted amongst themselves for who they thought was the best networker/exhibitor. The votes were in and the award was presented to:
Elle Skinner – Elle’s Cupcakery
Another fantastic prize – Daniel Warren – Mint Fresh Services was presented with a year’s free membership kindly donated by Federation of Small Business and Roger House. It means so much to an up and coming business. The business concentrates on providing honest and reliable cleaning services to both commercial and domestic markets. A absolutely superb prize, opening so many channels of support and business growth to a young entrepreneur.
Supporters of Enterprise
Kent Foundation relies heavily on in kind support and donationsto keep our services up and running. We would like to send our thanks to:
Trevor Sturgess – Editor of Kent Messenger Group – Business Editor
Alex Kofinas – Working in partnership with University of Greenwich to develop the Entrepreneur Profiling Tool
David Ing – For his ongoing support and recognition of the need to support young entrepreneurs and business across Kent
Roger House, Federation of Small Business – Donating a year’s free membership and business support.
Dick Fedorcio – Providing marketing support and networking on the evening.