Network for business-minded people

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 August, 2008, 12:00am

Networking has become one of the most important elements to generate opportunities in the high-flying world of business. The Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) Networker initiative gives an insight into the value of interaction and links between people.

Set up at the school's Sydney campus five years ago, the MGSM Networker is a voluntary organisation run by volunteers to bring like-minded people together, physically and virtually, to help generate new ideas, see new business opportunities and get a perspective of how to start and grow businesses. The initiative was set up by MGSM's associate professor in management, Chris Hall, initially to meet a clear need from some of the school's more entrepreneurial students and alumni.

Major events are held bi-monthly to allow members to learn from other entrepreneurs and serve as a platform for networking. Events include speeches by guest speakers, panel discussions, business plan competitions, breakfast meetings and 'pitch fests', during which participants pitch a business idea in three minutes to an audience.

The initiative was launched this year in Hong Kong because 'many people do not realise Hong Kong has one of the lowest levels in the world of entrepreneurship as measured by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Index', Professor Hall said.

He said the inaugural event in Hong Kong, held earlier this week, was designed to allow people to speed network. 'This gets them meeting other people who might be able to help start a business.' The event focused on the opportunities that the Beijing Olympics would create in China over this year and next. Most members of MGSM Networker are MGSM students, alumni and staff, but it is also open to those not affiliated with the school, but who are interested in entrepreneurship and networking. About 1,000 people have attended events so far in Sydney.

'Anyone who wants to explore setting up their own business, or setting up a business within their existing employer's activity will benefit [from the Networker],' Professor Hall said. 'Many MGSM alumni also work as consultants or in finance so this helps them see how they can better help innovative and entrepreneurial people.'

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