On Wednesday 12th March we joined the Kent Association of Young Entrepreneurs at their 10th birthday party and celebrated in true style with a bit of speed networking at Fruitworks Coworking space in Canterbury. It is a junior branch of the IoD and primarily offers a support network to young professionals and entrepreneurs.
First up Guest Speakers…
Paul Andrews a local Kent business celebrity kicked the evening off by telling us about his journey in business as CEO of jobsinkent.com and as a keen investor in local business. He referred to the County of Kent currently being home to over 50,000 small businesses and with figures like that you really can see why it is the lifeblood of the County. With young people realising that starting a business is a career option it is important to give them every chance of success with the appropriate business support.
Young entrepreneur Ben Bartlett of Bush Grub was up next. An extremely quirky business that sells edible insects and promotes them as a sustainable food source for the future. Ben captured the audience well, although he did have a helping hand in the form of ‘Keith the Chameleon’ see below. Bush Grub has been fortunate enough to secure a branding licence with ITV to use the ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ brand on their products. We were proud to recently feature Bush Grub as a Star Business on our blog and you can catch the full story here…
Let The Speed Networking Commence…
For those of you who do not know what speed networking is, it goes a little like this…
- First you need two rows of people seated opposite each other
- Set a time limit
- Start the timer
- Tell the other person as much as you can about your business
- Get them to tell you as much as they can about their business
- Swap business cards
- Time’s up – swap seats and start it over again with a new person
- Networking ends once you have spoken to every person
- Remember to follow up on any potential leads
It is an awesome way to get to speak to everyone in the room without having to gatecrash other people’s conversations, which can sometimes seem like the case at the more traditional networking event. It’s a great way to start a conversation and find out if there are any potential business leads in the room. The joy of it, is that it allows you to pinpoint a lead and extend the conversation further. All in all, it is a great way to boost business contacts and for any first timers it’s a great platform to be introduced to more traditional networking.