‘Networking plays a role in 70-75% of all jobs filled’ and can make a significant impact in advancing an individual’s career, according to Cornell University. For small business owners and entrepreneurs, networking is even more important for achieving success. They rely on social capital – a web of contacts – to give advice and, sometimes, more importantly, to find funding.
Take advantage of this symbiotic relationship by selecting a powerful theme for your next networking event – entrepreneurs and investors.
Mutually Beneficial Events
Entrepreneurial events are a great way to have like-minded students and alumni interact with one another. By extending this invitation to investors, you also add extra value to the event. Entrepreneurs need to network to find investors and investors are always looking to explore new ventures. Take Colgate University’s entrepreneur networking group as an example – they invite both small business owners and venture capitalists to attend their events.
Fresh Ideas for New Investments
Investors are looking for the next big thing and campus events are an ideal place for them to search. We all know the story of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Only months after Facebook was launched from a Harvard dorm room, Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital invested $500,000 in the social media platform. This was before it had even hit its first million users.
Create Affinity with Investors
These events can open communication with potential major gift donors who are looking for strategic investment and donation opportunities. Not only are your students and alumni engaging with the school, but you are also creating affinity with investors.
Once you have created a list of all the investors, small-business owners and entrepreneurs you’d like to invite, it is time to review their contact information. As with any event, make sure that the alumni contact information isn’t from their graduation year. Out of date data is one of the top reasons alumni aren’t engaged, so making sure their current place of employment and business emails are in your system is key. If you feel you could benefit from updated business emails, LiveAlumni is happy to help. Additionally, if you’d like business emails to invite parties outside of your alumni pool – say, local investors – LiveAlumni can also deliver this data.
This type of event is a win for everyone as investors explore new business ventures, alumni and student entrepreneurs gather valuable contacts and resources, and your institution gains affinity and engagement from all parties involved. We recommend inviting local and alumni angel investors, venture capitalists, and private investors to your next networking event. Your small business owners and entrepreneurs are sure to be more motivated to attend!
Sources & Additional Reading
 NETWORKING EVENTS, Career.cornell.edu
 How Do You Attract Big Gifts?–Part II, Dennisfischman.com
 Why entrepreneurs should prioritise networking, Virgin.com
 Entrepreneur Networking Event, Colgate.edu
 Timeline: Where Facebook got its funding, Fortune.com