A new business networking group is starting in Nanaimo with a focus on relationships.
Connect Now is holding its inaugural meeting on Thursday, tomorrow, at Rewsters Restaurant in downtown Nanaimo.
Connect Now Nanaimo leader Shaeah Love says she is the first one to bring the networking group to the island from the Lower Mainland.
“One of my biggest passions is community and bringing people together,” says Love. “I’m an extreme idealist and I love bringing people together. I really believe in the spirit of collaboration and relationships.”
Love says so far 24 people are going to the event, which is being attended by Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay. The event is a business and networking lunch for business owners and professionals. She says what makes it different is the focus on building relationships. Members can attend events at other locations and get access to online resources in a Learning Lounge.
“I went to Abbotsford last week and made some great connections,” says Love.
“When I went to the meeting it instantly felt like part of a family. It was a different feel.”
She says people were interested in her as a person rather than just looking for business leads.
Business people can attend initially before becoming a member, which costs $60 a year for individuals or $150 a year for organizations.
Members get a listing in the business directory on the Connect now Business Network website, www.connectnowbusinessnetwork.com, mention in social media networks, ability to attend all Connect Now meetings, business planning guides and tools plus much more.
Connect Now founder Jennifer Henczel says she started the group in Abbotsford three years ago and it now has 14 chapters in the Lower Mainland plus more are starting in the interior in the New Year.
She says she started the group after her husband had a near death experience in the workplace when he was crushed by thousands of pounds of wood.
“What I noticed with him is he was out in the community a lot and the community really rallied around him,” says Henczel.
So she wanted to start the organization to get people to network as a community of support.
“This is really friendly and it has reciprocity built in,” says Henczel.
“There’s no pressure whatsoever and we don’t require referrals. We focus on collaboration rather than competition. We don’t have exclusivity.”