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Business Clans are designed for entrepreneurs, self-employed workers and professionals from large companies who want to build lasting business relationships. How is it different from traditional networking? This program focuses mainly on the quality of encounters, putting you in touch with professionals who share your aspirations and ambitions. Two participants tell us about their experience.
An innovative concept
For each Clan, an intelligent algorithm brings together participants based on their affinities. A group of 14 to 20 professionals will meet in four two-hour meetings over eight weeks. If several participants have similar issues or come from the same industry, they won’t be assigned to the same Business Clan. This unique approach to matching people based on their shared professional goals creates a networking dynamic that has proven its worth.
Meetings are held in the morning or at lunch time in order to fit the schedules of people who aren’t available for traditional after-work events. During the meetings, a facilitator makes sure that everyone has the opportunity to express themselves and puts more introverted participants at ease. These well-structured workshops give rise to several rounds of discussions, organized around specific themes.
For Anne Riby, a former participant, this collaborative atmosphere is one of the great strengths of the program.
“It’s smart networking, that goes deeper. We don't just bump into each other at happy hour. It’s not superficial. You get to know and understand different people and occupations, and to really help each other," explains this Director at JA Québec, a non-profit organization. “From the beginning, it went very well because the facilitator did an amazing job. You know how much time you have to talk and you can see how people evolve from one meeting to the next.”
A professional and personal adventure
What’s the key to making the most of the Business Clans? Arrive with an open mind, ready to learn and share. Here, the goal is not to collect business cards, but to make high-quality contacts.
This is the very essence of the program: building strong ties and actively participating in the entrepreneurial community.
Anne Riby insists on this point: “It’s funny to say, but a Clan really does become a personal support network, even if the basic goal is professional. You get to know people, their ambitions, their interests and their story. And you help each other. Some participants have even become my friends over time.”
A program that takes networking to the next level
Nearly 90% of participants in recent cohorts gave positive feedback on their experience in a Business Clan. Their reasons for satisfaction? Having had useful exchanges with other entrepreneurs, whether on business issues, growth opportunities for their company, or best practices related to their profession.
Participants also discovered new suppliers and met with experts who helped them stand out to their current clientele.
Once the Business Clans session is over, members are encouraged to make individual appointments between meetings to get to know each other better. The success of this unique networking program also comes down to participants actively reaching out to their peers outside of “formal” meetings. These follow-ups allow them to deepen their relationship with each member of the Clan and to increase the opportunities for mutual support, collaboration and sharing of their entrepreneurial experience in order to achieve their professional goals.
Alek Delisle, co-owner and Vice-President of Delisoft, is among those for whom the program has been a success. He looks back on his experience: “I wanted to try something new to meet people arnd expand my network. At first, I went without expectations. And I wasn’t disappointed, even after participating in several cohorts. From one Clan to the next, it’s never the same story. You meet people, make partnerships, talk and learn.”
Anne Riby also agrees: “I can say it worked. I found partners and volunteers, but most of all I met motivating and inspiring people. After listening to them, I even decided to start my own business. I said to myself: why not me?”