Welcome to the newest BULLER CENTRE SERVICE.
Working with members of the business community, the Buller Centre is developing CONNECT MANITOBA, a way for businesses in rural Manitoba to grow their customer base and network with business people in their area.
You’ve heard of speed-dating? That’s where about 100 single people get together for an afternoon or evening. They pair up for about 5 minutes each and tell each other about themselves. If they like what they hear (and see), they agree to meet again.
Take that basic idea, apply it to business, and focus on rural Manitoba—and you have CONNECT MANITOBA.
Of course, we’re not the first organization to think of applying this structured meet-and-mingle process to business. There is even a term for it—speed-networking.
A number of entities (both for-profit and non-profit) organize speed-networking events in various parts of the world although, so far as we are aware, none are active in Manitoba.
It also appears that we’re the only one focused on rural business.
The plan is to work with the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce and local Chambers in each town to hold sessions in four different parts of Manitoba.
- Western Manitoba, encompassing the Chambers’ western, Midwest, and Parkland regions
- Eastern Manitoba, encompassing the Chambers’ Eastern region
- South Central, encompassing the Chambers’ Pembina Valley and Central regions
- North Central, encompassing the Chambers’ Interlake and Norman regions
Each regional CONNECT MANITOBA would focus on fostering business-to-business connections in that area of the province.
If this is is of interest to your business, join the Buller Centre (it’s free), and let us know. We’ll keep you posted when we start arranging a session in your area.
If the businesses participating see their CONNECT MANITOBA experience as valuable, the intention would be to hold one in that area each year.
This will be an opportunity for small businesses to:
- Meet potential business customers
- Meet potential service providers for their businesses (accounting, etc.)
- Find potential partners for joint business ventures
- Find out what resources are available to help their business grow
- Publicize their business to their community
In addition to providing a networking services to small businesses, this is intended to be an introduction to the Buller Centre for Business. We will then follow up with participants to learn if they saw the event as valauble, and what other services they could see the Buller Centre providing.We will be pulling students into the planning and execution of this event. Event organizing and hosting are important skills in most business roles, particularly in marketing and in senior management.
Like (And Not Like) Centralia
The closest precedent in Manitoba is probably Centralia, which provides a way for Manitoba businesses to meet international customers, vendors and partners. Centralia was first held in Winnipeg in 2010, and occurred again in October 2012.
Although both are designed for networking, CONNECT MANITOBA and Centralia are somewhat different from each other.
- Centralia is focused on international connections, while CONNECT MANITOBA is focused on connecting businesses in rural Manitoba with each other.
- Centralia is a multi-day event, while CONNECT MANITOBA lasts less than two hours.
- CONNECT MANITOBA is affordable for smaller businesses. The registration fee will range between $30 and $60 per event (depending on the cost of booking the space).
More Information on Speed-Networking
- ABC News - Networking for Suits
- Short TV news story, with good advice on making networking sessions productive. Archived on YouTube.
- New York Times - Businesses try a form of speed dating
- Good overview.
- Hub Pages - Speed Networking…Like Speed Dating For Business Contacts
- A first-person account of a speed-networking event. Good perspective for potential participants wondering what the experience is like.
- Probably the largest and most experienced of these services.
- Wikipedia - Speed Networking
- Good overview of purposes and options.