Event planning is difficult. Anyone who has ventured into events understands all the issues related to them including managing the general cost, gaging the actual interest, and putting in the effort to successfully run the event.
Everything we’ve done at Rochester Rising is entrepreneurial; each thing we try is one small experiment. Over the past two years, we’ve certainly run a fair share of tests and had several failures, and successes, in the event running department, from hosting demo nights, to throwing one-year birthday celebrations, to holding business breakfasts.
Throughout this process, we discovered a clear need for open (and cost-effective) events for entrepreneurs- particularly female innovators- for people to connect with other like-minded individuals in a low-key, minimal pressure setting. There’s a need for a space where entrepreneurs do not need to receive an invitation to attend and do not need to pay any dues to be included. Because as entrepreneurs, let’s face it. We’re on a pretty shoestring budget.
During Global Entrepreneurship Week this November ourselves, along with Rochester Home Infusion, held a Women’s Entrepreneurial Happy Hour to gather together female innovators and small business owners with no agenda other than to connect and learn more about the community. The response to this event was large, hitting on a true need in the city.
Last week we held another happy hour event at Bleu Duck Kitchen. Over thirty local female entrepreneurs attended, and more than 130 people expressed an interest in the event. The women who joined in spanned a range of industry from biotech, to real estate and travel, to food entrepreneurs. But one thing was the same. All of these women had started, or were starting, a business in the greater Rochester area and were seeking out others walking along that same path.
While I’m all for women taking charge and leveling the playing field in a male dominated business world, I believe that these types of women-focused events have clear value and purpose. The overall goal is to provide a safe and non-intimidating environment to share ideas and, ideally, help one another get to that next level in business through connections and community.
We hope this is the first of many of these types of gatherings to help build up and fuel this sector of our entrepreneurial community.
Foremost, these events must be driven by the needs of the community. If you attended the event, and even if you did not make it out, we’re interested in hearing what types of events you are seeking for female entrepreneurs in the Rochester area.
Please take a few moments to fill out the following survey and let us know what you think. Let’s build some community.
And if you are a business in Rochester that would be interested in the happy hour coming to your location, please send us an email.