Creating Jobs Over Cups Of Coffee: A Look At Boston World Partnerships’ “Coffee Connect” Series

Posted by erik devaney

Tired of those Boston networking events that are packed with hundreds of businesspeople? You know the type. At the end of the event, you have about 50 business cards, but are unable to match up the countless names, email addresses and phone numbers with actual living, breathing people.

The non-profit organization, Boston World Partnerships, has a solution: sit down with a group of no greater than ten, like-minded businesspeople in a nearby coffee shop and converse thoughtfully with those same people for an hour or two.

This new, more intimate approach to networking in the Boston area is known as the “Coffee Connect” series, which is part of BWP’s Connector Program. In its first year of operation (between 2009 and 2010), the BWP’s Connector Program created 362 new jobs in the Boston area and helped pump $38 million into the Massachusetts economy. At the core of this program are BWP Connectors: Boston area businesspeople who are devoted to creating business connections; pointing people in the direction of business resources; and hosting networking events, like Coffee Connects.

I recently spoke with Devin Cole, who — in addition to being a Connector and Coffee Connect-host — is the Director of Engagement & Programs for BWP. Cole told me that the goal of the Coffee Connect series is to “create a community and make it easier for people in the Boston area to connect with each other in a meaningful way.” Unlike at a traditional networking event, where people talk for a few minutes and then someone suggests going for lunch or for a drink to further the conversation, at a Coffee Connect people can “cut out some of the back and forth” and get to building business relationships straightaway.

Another difference between a Coffee Connect and a traditional networking event, as Cole pointed out, is location. A traditional, high-volume event needs a location that is convenient for lots of people to get to, such as downtown Boston or Cambridge. With a Coffee Connect, which allows for a maximum of only ten participants, locations can be more varied. Past locations for Coffee Connects have included Waltham, Charlestown and Dorchester.

To see where and when the next Coffee Connect in your area will be, check out the BWP’s Eventbrite page. According to Cole, BWP is happy with how the Coffee Connects have been going and they will “definitely be doing more” in the future.

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Posted by erik devaney on Sep 8 2011. Filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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