Networking events are great for startup entrepreneurs- not only do you get to meet and exchange business cards with potential clients or collaborative partners, you also (if it’s a quality event) get fed and watered for free, perfect when you’re trying to save the cash for your boot strapped startup.
I’ve been networking my little socks off over the past couple of years and thought I’d share with you some of the people organizations and events which I surround myself with and feel are really helpful in the entrepreneurial, tech, business and social media sector.
The list is rather Londoncentric sorry, but tough because it’s where I live! Would love to know about more organizations, people and events across the rest of the country- please feel free to add.
Also some of these organizations are focused for tech startups and some for entrepreneurship more generally and some cross over so have a look at their sites to gain more info.
I swear by Twitter as the best way to connect with people so have tried to link the ‘person you need to know’ Twitter name to their name.
Sun Microsystems: Get discounted servers, open source and discounted software free technical expertise and more, free to join and the man you’re after, the man with the most colorful shirts in London is Stewart Townsend.
NACUE: The National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs is a national organization that supports and represents university enterprise societies and student entrepreneurs to drive the growth of entrepreneurship across the UK. They also run a funding process. Victoria Lennox is at the helm. NACUE Twitter account and here is Victoria’s
Smarta: Smarta founded by entrepreneur Shaa Wasmund is a new support platform for business owners and entrepreneurs. Our aim is to provide a one-stop-shop where business owners can connect, learn and actually *do* business. Here’s the Smarta Twitter account.
Angel’s Den: Angels Den offers a service for two types of people: those who are trying to obtain business funding and small business finance – and those private investors (the business angels) looking for exciting business ideas to invest in. Startups pay a fee to join. Angel’s Den Twitter and the man behind it all is Bill Morrow
MakeYourMark: The campaign is run by Enterprise Insight, which was founded by the four leading UK business membership organizations – the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors. Their Director Generals sit on Enterprise Insight’s board, which is chaired by entrepreneur Peter Jones. Enterprise Insight is supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and is endorsed by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.Alongside the Make Your Mark campaign, Enterprise Insight runs:Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Make your mark Twitter
Entrepreneur’s World: is a membership-only organization offering a unique environment where entrepreneurs have stimulating interactions with like-minded business leaders and investors; share experiences; exchange advice; are inspired and collaborate in relaxed, informal environments. with an application criteria of a minimum company annual turnover of £1 million. Ivor Tucker is the founder, I don’t want to give his email so hed to the site to contact him.
School for Startups: The inspiration of serial entrepreneur and angel investor Doug Richard, School for Startups is the UK’s leading provider of business training for entrepreneurs. We provide expert tuition on the critical issues entrepreneurs need to understand, including how to start a business, finance and investment, product management, managing successful teams and entrepreneurial marketing. Schoolforstartups Twitter
Entrepreneur’s Forum: Encouraging a culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship within the North East. Was established in 2002 by a group of the North East’s leading entrepreneurs.
Growth Investment Network East Midlands: ‘We’ve got the network of East Midlands people you should know if you want to take your business successfully to the next level’. Toby Ried is behind it all, I don’t want to give out his email so i’ll update when I find out his linkedIn.
Startup 2.0: Founded in 2006 with the help of KPMG, Startup 2.0 (NS20) has taken the bold responsibility to build a sustainable ecosystem for early stage tech companies in Britain. At the core of this initiative is a series of premier monthly events focusing on the needs of Tech StartUps. Manoj Ranaweera is your man.
Events- There are many more Tweetups and events than the ones below, here are some of my favourites:
Drinktank: Started by one of the UK’s most popular startups Huddle, Drink Tank is one of my favourites with a good crowd and free drink, often held at a snazzy bar just off Regent’s street. Huddle’s Suz is behind it all and also organises a girls networking event called Silicon Stilettos
Minibar Started by Christian (weirdly I don’t know his second name) Minibar is free and is held at The Old Truman Brewery in East London. Free bar if you get there early before it runs out. Minibar usually has a theme where startups can pitch to the crowd and get questioned on their business model/pitch etc. Last time the theme was online publishing.
OpenSoho Started by Mr know everyone, entrepreneur and investor Paul Walsh Open Soho is usually on a Thursday night in a funky central London venue (usually Floridita or Kettners)- Free drinks until they run out-get there early!
Shoreditch Twit: East London, normally hosted in the Elbow Rooms, started by aptly named Lewis Webb, I’m not sure if they get sponsors for drinks but you can play a game of pool.
Facebook Developers Garage This is for the more techy specific people (coders and developers) held at Sun Microsystems there is without fail free pizza and beer., every time- win! Started by Joshua March they are run monthly and usually have a theme- the last theme was gaming.
BootLaw Started by our favourite technorati lawyers Danvers and Barry, Bootlaw is a free monthly seminar with the next one coming up in September themed on selling shares. If free pizza and beer wasn’t enough they also dish out iPods to people who have listened and learnt the most!
The Glasshouse/Second Chance Tuesday Founded by Judith Clegg The Glasshouse puts on ticketed events monthly. They always have interesting speakers like founder of Bebo Michael Birch, so it’s definitely worth the money. The next event is coming up soon has the Spotify founders up on stage- check the site for more details.
First Tuesday is a professional networking forum for established technology entrepreneurs and companies seeking venture capital, investors and related service provider, They are usually held at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden- no free bar but successful startup founders speak about their journey on stage. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Fish You have to apply to become a BigFish member, but it’s free and once accepted you get to hear people like Luke Johnson speak (He is Chaiman of Channel 4 and turned Pizza Express into a huge success story.) Big Fish run monthly events.
Media- Again loads of media but just naming a few blogs/publications that I surround myself with:
TechCrunch: @mikebutcher ‘s your man, everyone knows him, everyone loves him and everyone wants to be him! He has a brilliant job running around Europe reviewing startups for the TechCrunch blog. TechCrunch Europe runs a number of events throughout the year where you can pitch your startup.
People- There are loads, I should write another post entirely for people, I will endeavor, but here are a couple of the best:
Ian Ellis heads up Technology Business at Morgan Stanley, Irish, very intelligent, you can find him on LinkedIn.
Ryan Carson is the founder of Carsonified and also runs the FOWA events all over the world. You should really attend the FOWA FOWD events if your company is in the design/apps sector. In fact, you should really just attend full stop. The events are fantastic.