of every month, have become sessions many Gauteng-based entrepreneurs look forward to as a platform to not only exchange business cards with fellow entrepreneurs, but also to share their experiences with their counterparts.
In the ten months The HookUp Dinner has been around, it has developed quite a following. “We wanted to connect and engage people and contribute to the success of entrepreneurs, and for entrepreneurs to be authentic and tell it like it is. As an entrepreneur don’t tell me business is good when it’s not, because I go through the same thing,” says Molefe.
But this type of networking is also fertile ground for some corporates to find new businesses that they can utilise in their supply chains. Founder and CEO of TD5 Holdings, Dumi Jere, says he feels The HookUp Dinner was a good platform for his corporate to grow by associating “with other kindred like-minded entrepreneurs”.
“Networking is an important part of building connections throughout the business environment. It is often a ‘slow burn’ process, and is more about developing the face-to-face relationship,” says Jere.
He explains: “The more people one meets and talks to about the business, the faster one will get feedback to hone one’s proposition, meet potential investors and reach customers, both directly and through word of mouth.”
Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship CEO, Tracey Webster, who’s a regular at the events, says: “There’s a psychology of paying it forward through peer-to-peer mentoring. But there’s also building a strong network where entrepreneurs make deals with each other, from helping one another with websites or other aspects of their business.”
Corporates in attendance participate by giving constructive feedback to fellow business owners presenting business pitches on the night, Jere explains, advising them on what potential investors generally look for in a pitch.
Webster says such informal networking events serve as a great platform for corporates to better understand dynamic emergi ng entrepreneurs, who of t en f eel misunderstood by corporates, and be exposed to some of the work they do.
Following success of The HookUp Dinner in Johannesburg, Molefe says the second half of this year will see these networking events being launched in Pretoria, Durban, and Cape Town.