Hookup

Finweek English Edition - - BUSINESS - Buhle Nd­weni

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.

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