London is the perfect place for an entrepreneur, whatever stage of the journey you’re at. Whether you’re just beginning to dip a toe into the water of becoming more independent and create your own business, or whether you’re a more experienced professional and are looking for opportunities to help you connect with others, the capital city has plenty to offer.
If you’re planning to look up networking opportunities in the city, it’s a good idea to look up London hotels with special offers beforehand and spend a little time in the city, to get the most out of what is available.
Explore co-working networking events
London is filled with some fantastic spaces for co-working in, and many of them often feature regular activities to help members and guests network with each other. You’ll often find special events with external speakers from around the world, and many events will focus on particular industries or niches. Look up your favourite co-working spaces before visiting the city, to find out what’s on.
One of the biggest co-working brands in the city, WeWork have a wide range of locations around London, and they will often feature regular events and opportunities to connect with other like-minded professionals. Others, such as Google Campus, will often provide special events for start-ups, free training sessions and talks, which can offer some useful and insightful inspiration.
With a number of co-working spaces around London, including near the Chilworth and elsewhere, they can both offer a great place to work and hold meetings, and also help you take advantage of potential prospects around the city to develop your business.
Head to trade shows around the city
Being the capital city of the UK, London is host to a huge number of trade shows throughout the year, covering everything from food and home design, to photography, fashion and much more. You’ll find them across the city, particularly in larger venues around the capital, including at the Business Design Centre in Angel, or the Olympia London.
Many of these shows are designed specifically for industry professionals, and can be a great place to introduce yourself to other businesses in the sector, find out more about emerging trends, and network with other professionals. It’s also possible to register as an exhibitor at many of these events directly, and this can be particularly helpful if you are trying to raise your brand’s profile amongst others. As a global city, the vast majority of London’s trade shows will often attract an international audience, providing the chance to meet with professionals from all over the world.
Trade shows in the city can often go on for a while and may last for a weekend, or even a week. If you plan to attend then it’s a good idea to visit them more than once, to get to know what is on offer first, before getting familiar with specific exhbitors you may be most interested in. Most shows will also feature hundreds of exhibitors and it can be difficult to fit them all into one day, especially when trying to make a meaningful connection with them.
They can also be tiring events, so be sure to take care of yourself afterwards, with a rest and a chance to recover. A massage Paddington can be lovely treat after a busy day of networking, when you’re in central London.
Try out the city’s fairs and festivals
As well as having a huge range of trade-specific events across London, you’ll also find some incredible festivals, fairs and other events, that are often targeted towards end users or customers. There is a diverse range of events on offer, from the London Coffee Festival and a variety of food fairs through the year, to London’s Comic Con, targeted towards fans of the film, TV and comic book industries, and London Fashion and Design Weeks, targeted at those industries.
While these events are primarily aimed at attracting members of the general public who are interested in specific subjects, they can still provide a great opportunity to network with other businesses in select industries, and it’s a good idea to take professional contact details, so that you can follow up after the event. It’s also possible to attend and feature yourself at an event directly, giving you the chance to reach a greater audience.
London has festivals of all varieties on throughout the year, and it’s a good idea to plan ahead. If you’re thinking of attending one of them or exhibiting directly, you should try to get in touch with the event organisers, who can provide more information.
Look up universities, libraries and museums
London is a hub of knowledge across every sector, and many of the major institutions in the city will hold events of their own, or host related industry members, to provide opportunities for people in those sectors to meet each other and network.
The British Library, for instance, hosts a variety of workshops and events that cover a wide range of subjects, from how to write an effective business plan, to starting as an inventor, or setting up an online store. Other smaller libraries and education centres may often feature smaller events with a more local focus, while the city’s museums and galleries may often hold events related to a particular subject matter.
These can often be a great starting point if you are just beginning as an entrepreneur, or considering starting as one, as they will often provide affordable and practical solutions to learn the skills you need, in an accessible and affordable manner, as well as giving you the chance to speak to industry leaders from the city or elsewhere in the world.
As well as being useful for entrepreneurs in the industry, London’s many networking events also opportunities for people working within those industries to find new roles and prospects and can be a fantastic step in the right direction if you are not sure what you need to do next.