I put together some information to send to the foundation which gave me my start up funding for my company earlier today to try to encourage them to continue the entrpreneur networking nights that they have be begining to introduce and would like to share the info here as well.
Last summer the CYBF (Canadian Youth Business Foundation) launched their networking nights hosted at the Keg (as Part of the Keg Spirit Foundation) with London as one of the Pilot cities participating. I recieved the invitation and debated whether to attend having an invitation to another event that evening also. I chose to stop in and support this networking night - I'm so thankful I did!
As well as having a chance to touch base with my mentor, my contacts at the London Small Business Centre who assisted me in obtaining funding, and interacting with a few other CYBF entrepreneurs I already knew, I met a gentleman named Stephen J Arthurs. Stephen was a mentor in waiting, he was waiting to be paired with an entrepreneur through the CYBF and decided to stop in. Through the evening I was introduced to Stephen by another entrepreneur, Derrick Barber of LOWD Media, after Stephen had mentioned a need for some photography of some recent art pieces.
Long Story Short, the next day I turned up at his apartment to photograph his work, we hit it off and have been in constant contact since. Stephen has become a friend and informal mentor to me. Recognizing the potential for my career as a photographer to also branch out into the area of Fine Art Photography, Stephen spent time critiquing some of my work, educating me on the opportunities available to me as an artist, and encouraging me to continue pursuing this avenue in my business. Thanks to Stephen's encouragement and mentorship I have added a new line of products & services to my business, have been invited into a group of artists who participate in a variety of high profile celebrity gifting opportunities (my new fine art notecard card sample pack will be displayed the the MTV Movie Awards Celebrity Gifting Suite, and gifted to 100 celebs who stop by and recieve the Celebrity Swag Bags this coming June), or have a joint art exhibition set to begin touring the public art galleries this coming Nov.
This chance encounter at a networking event has allowed me to grow my business as well as myself as a business owner and artist. I will always be thankful that I made the choice to participate in that networking opportunity and encourage you to attend any networking event available to you too. You never know just what will come of the contacts you make.