Biz Camp was a new experience for me, one which I thoroughly enjoyed. My friend Denise Rushe and I set off from Sligo in the early hours of Saturday all geared up for a fun day of networking and information gathering. We arrived just after the first presentations had begun due to much searching for the complimentary car-parking!
We registered and received our name tags and had time for a quick coffee before setting off to find our first port of call with Ronan Geraghty of Microsoft. Ronan was speaking about BizSpark success stories and how Microsoft offer assistance to start-up companies. We learned that BizSpark have to date, assisted 20,000 companies worldwide who are at the Start-up phase. He discussed the technical support that Microsoft offer and the business advice available. He mentioned the great work done at the Dublin Business Innovation Centre and Guinness Enterprise Centre. He further discussed the new Business Angela’s Halo project and explained the support offered to new business ventures.
The next presentation that we choose to attend was from Adrian Avendano and he spoke about creating value using the right and left brain and making yourself become more innovative. After a few technical hitches, the presentation got under way. I found this presentation to be a little rushed and felt that Adrian did not get his point across. Perhaps the technical errors at the beginning were off-putting for him. One thing that I did take from his presentation was that people in business must think like a traveller in order to stay creative and innovative! A traveller in the sense that you are open to new experiences and live for the moment because this opportunity might come round again! http://www.meetforeal.com/
Just before our lunch break we attended a presentation by Amanda Webb of feel good organic hampers. Amanda spoke of the benefit of using Facebook as a tool for business. Amanda spoke of how she uses email to direct traffic to her Facebook business page and how her friends on Facebook help her create more business. She spoke about how her friends had potential to be sales people for her goods as they will pass on her message to other friends in the network and generate awareness of her company. Amanda mentioned some stats about Facebook indicating that there are 300 million active Facebook users worldwide and 308,200 of those users are in Irleand. She listed some positive aspects of using Facebook for business as follows; it is public, it provides analytical information (demongraphics and interests of her fans), it allows for customisation and constant contact with customers and finally it gives Amanda the chance to engage with her customers and seek suggestions or reply to comments. The only disadvantage is time! Amanda now sets up Facebook pages for friends in business and is working on a new website. www.spiderworking.com
After our complimentary lunch, we attended a presentation by Krishna De who spoke about LinkedIn and how to build your visibility, network and business with LinkedIn. Krishna spoke about the importance of on-line visibility and to make sure that you are using the full potential of your LinkedIn profile. She spoke about using applications on LinkedIn and the importance of having a good profile picture and correct user name. She suggested developing a reading list to add to and enhance your profile. Krishna encouraged users to build their network and connections, to join groups and get recommendations from previous colleagues. She also encouraged user to join in group discussions and keep an eye on events advertised on LinkedIn. She finished by indicating the importance of leveraging your profile and ensure that you attach a file to the footer of your email account.
Overall I enjoyed my BizCamp experience but have a few suggestions that might enhance the experience! I felt that there was not enough time to engage with and network with other individuals attending. I t would have been great if there had been an ice-breaker session to get people talking and encourage exchange of business cards and stories. I also felt there was a lack of reading material available, it would have been an idea to have had a stand with hand-outs for attendees. Given the volume of people that were in attendance, perhaps these suggestions would not have been possible, but these are just my opinions!