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Decoding Entrepreneurial Meetups and Their Relevance in 2018 Are modern-day meetups diverting from what they are supposed to do for entrepreneurs?

By Rahul R

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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It is a known fact that entrepreneurial Meetups serve as more than just liaison. Now, the fact is with the increasing disruption of technology available easily at the disposal of entrepreneurs, is there a potential situation where the essence of meetups, which is to truly foster entrepreneurship and welcoming young entrepreneurs to the community, gets lost?

With a certain section of startup owners also preferring to view meetups as platforms for recruitment, it does not hurt to explore the relevance of meetups in 2018 from the perspective of entrepreneurs. At this juncture, it is also worth noting that meetups have more often than not displayed tendency of diverting to aspects which leading to offbeat results; such as one-way communication, following straight-bat approaches with respect to ideation, and more.

There are companies trying to make money out of these and at times we have seen some people are even successful in this. Actually it happens with every innovative idea, but the thing is that people are ready to pay as the number of opportunities it generates attract more and more people towards it.

In this regard, Entrepreneur India sought to know from entrepreneurs (start-up founders) insights with respect to meetups and leveraging the potential these present:

Tracking relevance of meetups for entrepreneurs in 2018

"Actually meet ups are not at all for recruitment," states Pankit Desai who is Co-Founder and CEO at Sequretek which is into offering cyber security and vulnerability risk assessment services.

"There are several forums like Ascent, BNI, YPO, TIE which encourage meet ups between entrepreneurs in smaller groups. I am personally a member of Trust Group as part of the Ascent Foundation's initiative for entrepreneurship scale-up," he adds.

As per Desai, there are meetups which are actually doing the job of connecting entrepreneurs whilst ensuring that ideation is not monotonous. He states that with trust groups now being formed, these encourage people to share and consequently allow an open exchange of problems and potentially receive inputs through collective guidance.

"Over the past two years that I have been part of this initiative, I have found these 3 hours per month sessions as probably the most rewarding experience," informs Desai on being asked whether the structuring of meetups would make consumption of ideas (content) cumbersome for first-time participants.

"Biggest advantage of a meetup is networking. If a participant goes with a closed mindset, he/she would not achieve anything. Entrepreneurs need to be flexible. If they see relevant people, they should actively engage," advises Anil Joshi who is Managing Partner at Unicorn India Ventures.

"Thus, it is quite relevant in today's scenario not only in India but also in the western countries, where meet ups are more agenda driven," believes Joshi.

Making modern meetups more effective – Not diversionary

At this juncture, it is worth understanding that meetups in 2018 (and beyond) should be places for not only idea exchange but also platforms for improvising existing talent whilst learning newer aspects.

"At specially designed meetups, entrepreneurs get a chance to meet with prospective investors — this helps them gauge investor sentiment on the overall scenario as they are more comfortable talking in an informal set up like a meetup," informs Joshi.

He states that the agenda of a meetup should be kept precise, which is to cater to entrepreneurs. For instance, if the agenda such as BlockChain and Cloud Computing are set, it could potentially help to open up minds of entrepreneurs to new possibilities, whilst enabling them to stay updated on the latest technological innovations.

When participants in a meetup are engaged and connected to the core agenda, mundane elements (such as meeting celebrities purely for the sake of photos, and one-off interaction without any learning involved) could be avoided.

As far as exactly avoiding diversion in meetup agendas is concerned, entrepreneurs advise that the onus is on the participants to scout for relevancy on a case by case basis.

"If you are in a meet up designed for retail brands and you do not find anyone relevant but see someone talking about tech in retail and the wonders it can do with regards to hassle-free check outs, payment solutions etc, that itself may give you a new idea to build upon," recommends Joshi.

Rahul R

Former Staff

Rahul R is a media professional with over 6 years of experience. Prior to Entrepreneur India, Rahul was a Senior Technical Journalist at EFY digital magazine. 
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