Lifestyle

Best Sites for Networking

Let these sites alleviate the stress of networking...

Did anyone truly expect the global impact of what is retrospectively the most important invention to affect human interaction since the telephone? Yes the World Wide Web (thank you Sir Tim Berners-Lee) brings six degrees of separation down to three, and nowhere is it more useful that in the often challenging arena of networking. To facilitate the process, here are our top sites... (and yes we’re leaving out Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.)
 
ROUTE IN

A resource to be used, plundered and admired, Route In is the brainchild of former investment banker and Lehman Brothers employee Magali McIntyre, and does exactly what it says on the tin: pairing up experienced mentors in ‘target industries' with whoever might need access to them. Whatever you’re looking for, be it interview practice, industry insight or even case study tests - it's all offered in abundance and in the strictest privacy.
 
WOMEN UNLIMITED
www.womenunlimitedworldwide.com

This excellent service aims to galvanise professional women in whatever career path they choose with the aid of a highly experienced network of like-minded individuals who have forged ahead with their own ventures. Features include a network of business clubs around the UK, founder Julie Halt’s incisive blog and some truly excellent podcasts.
 
ENTERPRISE NATION

A woman storming the networking scene with a view of doubling the number of startups in the UK, Enterprise Nation comes straight from the mind of veritable superwoman Emma Jones. The site offers all manner of support solutions for those launching into what can often be the most inspiring yet terrifying of ventures. Take advantage of the much lauded Startup Saturday classes and Fund 101 – a link-up with Paypal that allows you to win £500 of funding for your small business idea – motivation enough to keep you going.
 
CITY WOMEN NETWORKING
www.citywomen.org


If you’re a woman working in The City and are looking for like-minded individuals who have trodden the hallowed path before you then head straight to this destination domain, replete with the kind of sensible autonomous advice that will make a world of difference to the professional high-fliers amongst you.
 
SEED NETWORK

Lynne Franks is nothing if not a champion of women’s causes and nothing demands more respect than her love affair with enterprise. Cue her Seed Network, which aims (through local learning programmes and online networking) to bring out the best in female entrepreneurs.

DEALROOM

This tech investment network matches investors with tech companies, lists over 4000+ tech businesses already, and operates from seed right through to late growth stage. It’s a great way to control incoming investment opportunities and also channel information right back to investors you’d like to target.

ONE LEAP TO

The platform that offers exclusive introductions to entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders is worth its weight in gold. A select global community that not only acts as a catalyst for high net worth networking, but also has an altruistic streak with its focus on charitable donations.

INFINU

If you’re a startup looking for an investor then Infinu should be your first port of call, because here both parties are vetted, certified and filtered - creating a pool that will maximise return for both sides. Well worth a look. 

SUNZU

Another networking site that may have slipped under the radar is Sunzu, though it deserves far higher visibility. Under the auspices of founder Lyndon Wood, the social networking site has business at its heart, offering a ‘a space to meet, share, learn, trade and grow with other business owners’. Yes, it’s all about ‘knowing your opponent’ – a decidedly ‘Art of War’ inspired ethos.

SMARTA

Is another site well worth mentioning. The support platform for business owners and entrepreneurs is fuelled by the belief that great minds think alike, and they think even better when in close proximity. Services come in the form of a £20,000 prize to the UK’s most disruptive small business as well as an endless array of other awards, categories and prizes that cut the wheat from the chaff.
 
September 2013.