IIBN recently trialled a new initiative, entitled Power Networking Hours, in which small groups of members from a variety of industries and cities were invited onto a lunchtime Zoom call.

The objective of the calls is consistent with the wider IIBN mission to facilitate connectivity between Irish entrepreneurs and business professionals, with a view to identifying and exploiting new business opportunities.

To this end, each call participant was invited to speak for 2 minutes by introducing themselves to the other attendees, outlining the service provided by their business, summarising any challenges they are facing and highlighting how IIBN members may be able to offer assistance in the form of advice, ideas or introductions.  All attendees had the opportunity to ask questions or make comments at the end of each presentation.

The quality of the presentations was excellent.  New relationships were formed and new opportunities emerged from every single call, not necessarily for every individual participant, but we’re confident that can be achieved with subsequent calls.  The contrast between companies that have fared better than others during Covid was apparent, but equally it was very refreshing to hear offers of assistance for those experiencing challenges.

For this pilot exercise, the Zoom call participants were self-selected, based on availability.  We are fully aware that we couldn’t accommodate all members on these first set of calls during November and December, but we promise to get around to everyone in early 2021.  Armed with useful intelligence that we were able to pick up on the calls, we are also confident that the next series of calls will comprise of attendees with more complimentary needs and resources.

Rather than make any claims ourselves about how these calls went, we invited participants from the first series of these calls to give us their views and we are happy to share these below – unedited and uncensored!

We would sincerely like to thank all of those who participated, and those who apologised to say they couldn’t make a call until early next year, and we look forward to involving all of you in the next series of these calls in early 2021.  To meet the demand for such calls and to maximise member participation rates, we will be putting out a call for volunteers to chair these calls also and look forward to engaging with those of you willing to take up that challenge!

FEEDBACK FROM POWER NETWORKING HOURS IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 2020

It was excellent. Good people, good conversation, useful follow-up. The IIBN team conducts their networking events with sensitivity, charm and intelligence. Like all who are great at what they do, they make the complex look easy. Frankly, no one does it better. IIBN is world class! Tommy Hutchinson, Founder & CEO, i-genius

Thoroughly enjoyed the IIBN Power Networking event.  Sometimes Zoom events can have awkward moments but this was very well run and kept in a more casual tone whilst still being able to give aspects to your audience of your business and yourself without being over-powering. Hope we’ll see many more of them in the future. David Crowley, QFA. Director

I think that IIBN have developed the closest framework to ‘real world’ Pre-Covid networking I have had exposure to. I just attended one of these virtual events yesterday and everybody present seemed to get genuine value from what was a natural, organic, very open and unforced conversation. Hats off to Ailbhe and all at IIBN! Martin McEvoy, Managing Partner; Signium Ireland

‘It was great to meet some really interesting people. I’ve since caught up with one of the other members to see if we could work together. Loved hearing about all the different businesses and approaches’ Eamonn Sheridan, YuLife

“No-one ever bumped into each other by accident over Zoom.  So it’s great that IIBN are leading the charge with the Power Networking Calls – especially for those of us that are back in town just recently.” Ralph Benson, Moneycube

Ailbhe and team, thank you so much for arranging the IIBN power networking calls. I actually had a requirement for a client and from that one call, I came away with two possible solutions so it was a very valuable use of my time.  I will also get further support for my team from one of the participants aswell and have a follow up call with another so I think it was a win win for the grouping that I was paired with! Keep up the fantastic work and I appreciate all the efforts in keeping us connected at this time! Joanne McEnteggart  Managing Director IQEQ

“Having been a member of IIBN for over 5 years I have missed meeting and connecting with fellow members in person terribly this year, but having joined one of the Power Networking Calls I can honestly say it’s one of the best methods by which to chat, hear from other members and the honesty, stories and connections have been truly uplifting. Thank you IIBN and Ailbhe, can’t wait to join many many more.” Louise O’Conor, Beta Digital

I felt the format of the Power Networking worked very well.  The relatively small numbers and the session having a ‘chair’ meant that everybody got plenty of time to talk about themselves and their business.  It was nice to see and meet with a number of good people I had not met before and to hear of their challenges and plans. Andy Rogers, Startup Mentor and Advisor, Ex Bank of Ireland, Former Chair of IIBN

As a tech start-up founder I have found that networking has been the best way to make meaningful progress – making the right connections that can open doors to funding and commercialisation opportunities is the cornerstone of any growing business. Covid has impacted heavily on these opportunities however I’ve found IIBN’s Power Networking Calls to fill the gap left by in-person events. I would highly recommend taking part, everyone is there for the same reason, and everyone benefits somehow. It’s not what you know after all. Rena Maycock Founder/CEO Cilter Child-protection Software

“I won’t lie. I am missing meeting and getting to know new people and this IIBN initiative is a smart way of helping to resolve this. I have always believed that one introduction or one conversation can change your life but they don’t happen sitting at home. Or, at least until now. Serendipity is back…!!!” Kingsley Aikins, Founder of The Networking Institute

It is inspiring to hear of resilience in the face of the business challenges posed by the impact of COVID. I have no doubt that opportunities will come from people networking and supporting each other via the Power Networking Calls. Kathleen Garrett. Partner Arthur Cox

“The Power Networking Calls are a very novel way to meet new contacts during this period of no social gatherings. Of course they are not as convivial as a chat over a glass of wine in a city centre bar, but the networking has to continue and this is an excellent way to do it. On the call I managed to get 2 good leads and to talk with someone who previously worked with one of our clients – cementing our positive opinion of them – which is always nice to do. I’m really looking forward to the next face-to-face IIBN event, but in the meantime, this is very quick and easy way to meet some new people.” Chris Burge, Co-Founder Spark Crowdfunding

I’ve been a member of IIBN for years and have always been a fan of, and ambassador for, networking.  I did my first ‘power call’ with the IIBN and to be honest I just put it in the diary as I was available.  To be honest my expectations for anything more than a pleasant chat were pretty low. I was made redundant due to Covid in July (I had been a sales director shuttling back and forward between Dublin and London) and I then set up my own business offering Business Development-as-a-service so the call at least afforded me a chance to come up with some kind of an elevator pitch. So how did it go?  Well there was Ailbhe and Conor from IIBN and me and three other businesses; after the call two of them contacted me (and we have met since) to discuss working together.  Need I say more!? To quote that great fan of networking,  Meatloaf, “two out of three ain’t bad”. IIBN, rock and roll…….. Richie Smith, Business Development Consultant and Strategist

The recent networking was well run, which gave all the participants a good chance to get an idea of what the other attendees do, as well as serving as a great showcase for my own business. Networking is not just about getting referrals, although that can be an attractive spin-off. Building new contacts, and more importantly trusting them, takes time! By continuing the dialogue in future sessions, you can build an attractive resource for yourself, in terms of knowledge, support and advice. You never know when you might be asked by a valuable client if you know a reliable ‘so and so’, and it’s top marks for you if you can help your client with a really good and trustworthy contact. For me, that’s the value piece. Eilis Quinlan – Quinlan Accountants

“The networking call was great – different people working in diverse areas. As a lawyer, it gave me an insight into the depth of members at IIBN. A good mix of business and personal, just what networking should be.” Leo Nabarro – Partner CANDEY

An engaging conversation that gave each participant the opportunity to expand their network in a way that was personable. It also gave me a deeper understanding of what services others in the IIBN network offer, and there was ample opportunity to ask any questions to the others on the call. Tom McGovern Co-Founder Baby Academy

This was a great call. I got to meet fellow Irish Business people, some business that I might be interested in using and I have got some follow up queries and interest in my business. There was a real feeling of support and solidarity on the call. I really felt energised afterwards. Bernardine Maloney. Executive Coach and PR Communication Consultant

Virtual Networking is surprisingly effective!  At the recent IIBN networking event via Zoom I found myself in a small group of people – most of whom I had never previously met.  In some ways it was better than face to face networking.  In fact, I made a purchase from one of the others on the call that same day! Barbara Moynihan On Your Feet

“It’s so refreshing to connect with other like-minded business people, whether they face similar or different challenges. We’ve missed out on the opportunity for face to face networking this year, but the way these calls are run makes these the next best thing. Whether it’s a useful connection, a fresh perspective, or simply an interesting story, there’s something to gain by taking part.” Fiona Parfey, Founder, Sundrift

The recent lunchtime networking event I attended with IIBN was well organised and flowed really well. The format is relaxed and engaging. I’d Highly recommend  members to experience the format. Barry Darmody, Founder of Search4Less and Start4Less

“A great initiative that helps right-minded people to be more aware of the support available within the IIBN network. Looking forward to many more” Iain Cahill Founder 2TierTravel

The networking call was a great way to spend 45 minutes! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting a diverse group of Irish people located around the globe and hearing about the different types of interesting things that people are involved in in their day to day working lives. I look forward to more of these networking opportunities. Siobhan O’Sullivan Fenergo

I found the IIBN Networking Call enormously beneficial. They connected me with some very interesting fellow members. It certainly opened a couple of doors and I hope to do some business with at least one of the members on the call.  All in all, a very good way to spend an hour of my time.  Amber Byrne, Owner Development Manager, Horse Racing Ireland.

“Since March 2020, Ailbhe and the IIBN team have developed initiatives that are relevant to the new working environment that we are experiencing.  The Power Networking Calls are novel and enjoyable.  It’s great to hear how people in other business sectors are getting on and how their business models have adapted over the last 9 months.  If you need to lift your spirits or are looking for new opportunities, it’s an hour well spent.  Marie Bradley, Bradley Tax Consulting

“To top off a year with amazing Zoom events during the first lockdown, IIBN finishes the year with Power Networking Calls to exercise our networking skills and learn about the talented people who make up IIBN!” Janice Flynn, Principal Lawyer

“It was great to have the IIBN zoom call last week, a chance to introduce our businesses to new faces, and knowing  that we are all experiencing similar challenges while we ride out the storm” also interesting  to hear from a few  who had identified short-term opportunities within their sectors” Refreshing to see the elevation in one gentleman when he identified that one of the group could had contacts that could assist him and was open to “coffee al fresco” the next day! Yvonne Dolan, Founder of The Blendi Snack Company

“Covid 19 has stunted the amount of face to face networking that is possible, with many traditional network groups resorting to webex & zoom broadcasts to their members.  While interesting in themselves, they no longer facilitate the member to member engagement element.  The IIBN power networking calls are a really good initiative as they combine matching of participants with “common” interests, rather than random allocation, and then facilitates the “member to member” engagement.  Covid may have forced us to replace face to face interactions with a technical interface, but at least we are now interacting with each other, not just broadcasting and listening.” Damian Kennedy, FD/CFO Interim Manager

“For a startup like myself the opportunity to share my story with such accomplished business people and get their insights is truly invaluable. Everything is done in such a friendly and informal way it is something not to be missed and a big thank you to IIBN for organising it.” Andrew Whitaker, Founder of Culture Co-Working

I recently took part in a Power Networking Call with IIBN and I found it most beneficial. It was facilitated excellently, had great participants and was well worthwhile. It was interesting to be introduced to new people and to learn what they were involved in and to see if there could be any mutual benefit from being in touch. I’m looking forward to the next call as I firmly believe that we should always be curious and never stop learning! Tom Murphy, CEO of Pamex Limited

I was not sure what I would get with a varied mix of business people in a random networking call would yield but listening to stories from the various parties from fields of IT, banking ,insurance, entrepreneurship and general business gave me a view of our wider Irish networking group and unlike specific artist groups that I would have engaged with previously this was fresh and kept to the time and was reasonably disciplined and moved at pace for all parties all of whom have busy schedules. I made links that I hope will be useful in the future, I got a chance like all participants to pitch out my own business offering like all ,answered a few vital questions and had a decent chat, asked questions of others and had a few laughs.

I think it is a good start and change from just talking to a normal friend group and a real way to find links and info from professionals outside your  own circle. A good use of 1 hour thanks IIBN. Shane Holland, Shane Hollard Design Workshop

I found the format and small size of the group very engaging.  I felt the group got to know one another quite well and a conversation happened among the group with some immediate connections and opportunities identified.  This is a great Covid-time way to continue networking but I feel it is a format that will work well at any time to compliment in-person networking.  I recommend IIBN members to join these sessions when available. Paul Smullen, Ddaas

I found the session refreshingly new, focussed and very timely given how we are all struggling in this new virtual world to make meaningful new contacts. Very well done by Conor & Ailbhe, a very very valuable one hour spent. I would endorse this initiative whole heartedly to everyone. Gerry Collins, Managing Partner, Ecovis

“I was delighted to participate in one of the recent Power Networking Calls and enjoyed meeting fellow IIBN members. Facilitation meant everyone got to participate and the mix of attendees and discussion meant it didn’t feel like ‘just another zoom call’. A fantastic way to keep in touch, despite the disruption of lockdown.” Dr. Richard A. MacKinnon,  WorkLifePsych Ltd.

“One of the significant challenges of Covid this year has been our inability to get out and meet people.  Networking is the lifeblood of business and, while nothing will ever fully replace the benefits of face-to-face chats (or wine!), the IIBN Power Networking calls have certainly bridged the gap in the short term.  I look forward to more of them in the new year. Thank you.” Scott McInnes, Founder, Inspiring Change

I found the Power Networking Call to be a super initiative by the IIBN Group. It was a fantastic way to connect with a small number of members in a meaningful and genuine manner. The size of the Group meant that everyone got a chance to showcase their business and explore any opportunities that may develop from the group on the call. There is an opportunity to grow this form of networking as we enter the New Year and the members look to leverage the wealth of opportunities within the IIBN Network. Stephen Mullin, Director, CPL Resources

IIBN is the gift that keeps giving! On top of all the amazing advice and support they give, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my fellow members these past few weeks with the Power Networking Calls. Meeting like-minded people, sharing ideas, and discussing common entrepreneurial problems – I can’t recommend highly enough. Gavin Duffy Trigr

I felt that there were good synergies in the room and the possibility for collaborations. The structure of the meetings was very strong, where each participant was given plenty of time to talk about their business, and your questions helped to draw more out of us. Not only was it an opportunity to pitch my own business, but I was learning so much more about the other businesses in the room, more than you would normally at a networking event. I felt this was a very supportive event and I feel I know my fellow participants and IIBN members far better as a result. Barbara Monahan, Cube Design

I attended one of the lunchtime Power Networking Calls recently and I found it hugely beneficial. They are run so efficiently. Everyone got to do their 2 minute elevator pitch with some really helpful questions and comments from the group. I’ve connected with several people from the call and having some concrete new business conversations. I can’t wait for the next one. Powerful. Sinead Scott-Lennon, Resilience and Recovery Coach and Communications and Wellbeing Consultant with HR for Better Workplace

I recently participated in an IIBN networking call. The event was a very good exchange of information and ideas in a well moderated format.  I look forward to future calls. I would highly recommend them to IIBN members. Tony Cheevers USA

“Power Networking Calls bring speed networking to a totally new level.  I am indeed humbled to have these Networking Calls named after me!!” Maurice Power, Principal at MJP Associates

The IIBN Power Networking Calls have provided a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow members I wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity to meet. Not just from a location perspective but from a diversity angle. It’s important to challenge our knowledge and mindset in terms of what we know or don’t yet know. These calls, which are professionally planned and executed, provide and afford us with opportunities we wouldn’t normally achieve, if left to our own devices.  Siobhan Fitzpartick, The Networking Hub

“With the current restrictions on meetings – the Power Networking Calls are a great ‘pivot’ to bring business professionals together in the current environment. The participants are carefully chosen so they are likely to be of interest to each other and the meetings are well moderated by Conor so everyone gets the most out of the time. You get a chance to talk about your business and discuss topics of interest with the group. Would highly recommend participating – hopefully it’s one of those ideas that will be retained ‘post-Covid’.” Barry Prost. Yala.ie

I have been a member of IIBN for the last 5 years and the value of the calls done during 2020 has been phenomenal. I have increased my business in 2020 by taking my coaching programs on line and the calls are a great way to get tips from colleagues on what is working well for them in relation to business growth and strategies that are the most useful. I would highly recommend all members participate on the calls as it is a great way to get practical learning tips that you can apply in your business.  Thanks to the IIBN Team for all the support in 2020 Anne Marie Graham, Empower people to change

The event on Tuesday was really great. Well done on hitting the mark. I found it was a great way to connect with others, to hear about their business and current challenges in an informal and relaxed setting. It was just effective as meeting in person. Well done again. Conor O’Brien, Partner, RBK

This is a superb initiative. You always learn from chatting with other entrepreneurs. This initiative is like a cosy cup of coffee with a half-dozen like-minded people. We shared our stories of the past year, offered very frank insights into how challenges were overcome, and mapped a vision for 2021.  One of the most useful hours networking I’ve ever had. Thank you IIBN. More please! Ellen Gunning, Director, The PR Training Academy

I was thrilled to join my first IIBN networking call in November . Calling in from Canada, it was a huge boost to hear from fellow Irish entrepreneurs during this challenging time, hearing how different business sectors are staying focused and how everyone is coping with their business development. Having networked around the globe over the past 20 years, it was an eye-opener to see how we can do this virtually and create value to each other. Not only was it a professional networking session, it was a heartfelt joy to hear Irish voices. I’m looking forward to the next networking call and hope we can all support each other more in 2021. Alva Winston-Troubetzkoi (Canada)

I recently joined an IIIBN  arranged Power networking call with a variety of members from different sectors, industries and background. It proved to be an excellent opportunity for an informal yet informative discussion as to the impacts and various responses to the Pandemic across various sectors. I found it worked really well via “Teams” allowing everyone a chance to explain their experiences and responses. Shane Rooney, Durkan Limited

I was delighted to be part of an online networking session hoisted by Conor this week.  It was effective and efficient as the people in the room all shared similar backgrounds  ( well done IIBN…the algorithm worked!)  so no wasted time working a room trying to find connections as it used to be pre COVID. This should be part of the way forward.. and all done in an hour! David W Duffy – Founder of The Corporate Governance Institute.

“It was great to have the opportunity to connect with IIBN members virtually during the recent Power Networking Calls. I met and chatted with people that I would not usually have the chance to (COVID aside) as my group was with members in Ireland, London, Germany, and New York – and to hear of their backgrounds, expertise, businesses, work/life balance. Ashling Scanlon, Tourism Ireland NY

As a big supporter of IIBN I was intrigued to see how the Power Networking Calls would work. In truth it reminded me of the difference between cocktails and mocktails. You had the usual charm of Ailbhe, with a hint of dry humour from Connor over a mix of experience and insight from the attendees. Whereas in “normal” times the social presence adds the final ingredient to create the magic. I have got to say that I look forward to the cocktails again in the future but in the current circumstances the mocktail is the next best thing! Brendan Morahan, Director, Invennt

The pandemic has forced us to appreciate the value of networking and to find new ways of connecting with one another. In some ways, while we are working remotely, I feel people’s guards have come down somewhat and as a result, human connection is going up. The IIBN Power Networking Call I attended this week was highly efficient and effective and was a reminder of the importance of embracing these tools to build new relationships during these unprecedented times. Sharon Cunningham, Co-Founder, Shorla Pharma, Ltd

“It was great to be involved in the IIBN Power Networking Calls, a very well structured event. It was interesting and motivating to hear from such diverse business leaders across multiple sectors and industries.  The smaller, targeted groups made it very easy to get to know new people quite quickly.” Ronan Hannan, Co-Founder, Protégé Ventures LTD

“I found the IIBN Power Networking Call one of the better business development opportunities I have attended during 2020. Having a structured conversation in a small group allowed us all to get to know each other and our businesses. It made something that many find awkward, easy.  I am looking forward to the next one.” John McElroy, Haufeld

Thanks Ailbhe and IIBN for the recent networking call. It was a very useful hour and the small groups allow for an easy flow of conversation. It is always interesting to hear about the challenges faced in business. I will definitely connect with the others on my call and look forward to more of these in 2021. Michael Foley, CEO of Aspire Digital.

“I found the Power Networking Calls well-structured and chaired and so not awkward at all. They seem an easy way of bringing to life the names in the IIBN directory, and a perfect way to get around the networking obstacles which Covid has thrown up” Declan Bradley Doyle Clayton.

“As we can’t meet in person this is a wonderful opportunity to connect in a time-focused way and share key learnings from our recent experiences in these unprecedented times.” Joseph McGuire, CEO of Clear Sight Communications

I found the call great, it was a super way of meeting like minded entrepreneurs and making connections. We’ve shared connections since and hopefully that makes a positive difference to people’s businesses too. A simple idea with great impact. Aisling Teillard , Our Tandem

“As someone who is just starting their entrepreneurial journey, I am quickly learning that without putting time and effort into networking, you are setting yourself up for failure. I went into the power networking call anticipating that there was nobody else in my particular industry, and consequently had low expectations of making a significant connection. However, one of the participants connected with me after the call, and I now have a genuine lead for finding the right space for my business” Eoin Keating, Founder at WorkShape Ireland

“I found the call to be entertaining and useful. A small number of participants, each got to introduce themselves and it resulted in at least one solid connection being established. It is uplifting to see the  creativity that people are capable of and the resilience demonstrated after setbacks.” Tony Musiol, Chairman, Carrick-on-Suir Tourism and Economic Development Committee

“I got a great insight from like minded companies on how they are facing the challenges of sustaining and growing their businesses in these very challenging times. It was reassuring to discover many issues are similar such as face to face networking. For a business like ourselves that relies heavily on networking and referencing for sales, I am delighted to say that as a result of introductions from the  Power Networking Call I have had several useful and interesting genuine sales leads. I look forward to my next invite”. Mick Kelly Simple WorkFlow