You’ve heard it before.

Networking is the key to success!

What does that even mean?

Another event full of people who are much less interested in what you have to say than in how fast they can get a business card into your hand?

One more date on the calendar, one more obligation.

Silvia Selman of The Starupist reminds us that “connections come as a results of other connections,” but the quality of those connections and their lifetime value is hard to quantify.

The inability to determine the usefulness of such a time-consuming, introvert-bashing practice is enough to tempt you to rush to Google Analytics to seek solace in the predictable (and quantifiable) ebb and flow of pageviews and visitor stats.

But web stats can only provide comfort for so long, and blog posts and their tweety counterparts can only answer so much.

We need something more – something tangible, personal and inspiring to keep us moving through this treacherous landscape of solo entrepreneurship.

Pine Belt Entrepreneurs: Networking for the Rest of Us

I found myself driving home late one Thursday night in January – feeling an intense, unfamiliar rush of … relief. Finally. I had found my tribe.

Earlier that night I had attended my second PBE meeting. Afterwards a few of us stayed back to share our ideas, to seek out the expertise of others in the group and to bask in a shared appreciation for innovation, creativity and challenging the status quo.

“This wasn’t networking,” I told my husband later, “this was church!”

This wasn’t another business-card-trading, let’s-hang-out-and-drink, let-me-tell-you-about-my-golf-game event. This was a quantifiable, measurable learning experience with tangible results. The connections we made were just the “free gift with any purchase”. Everyone who attended that meeting walked away with something new, something to propel them forward.

And like any good religious movement, we want to bring you into the fold.

What is Pine Belt Entrepreneurs?

Pine Belt Entrepreneurs was organized by Chris Spence, a USM and Harvard graduate, “to bring together past, present, and future/potential small business owners who are in or near the Hattiesburg area, and use this fellowship as a platform for free feedback and support with their ideas.”

“I started this group because I think too many potential entrepreneurs are unable to take the plunge, too many existing entrepreneurs are stuck at a specific level, and too many small businesses fail before they are even able to get off the ground.

This Meetup Group was created to form a community of likeminded go-getters who are ready and willing to hear about each other’s challenges and to brainstorm and provide the desperately needed feedback to help each other propel further in their entrepreneurship goals.” – Chris Spence

During each meeting a member of the group presents an idea, challenge, success or formula.

We discuss, offer up new viewpoints and perspective, and sometimes, criticism.

The result is that we all take something away with us that we didn’t possess before, and we learn and grow together so that we can meet our goals, and perhaps, seek to reach further than we had thought possible.

Each month we meet on a Tuesday or Thursday night from 6-8pm at the William Carey University School of Business (Room 221) to do just that, and we want you to join us.

Click here to join us on Meet-Up.

 

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