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Cork Entrepreneurs Network – A Network Overview
Have you been to Cork recently? Well if not, attending a Cork Entrepreneur’s Network (CEN), Network at Noon event, as hosted by the lovely Laura O’Connell is well worth putting into your diary.
Laura is a coaching psychologist and mentor. Her background is in sales and marketing, where she was highly successful in her corporate life. After becoming gravely ill Laura had to stop working and her life trajectory changed. She went on to change her career and retrained herself, post her 2 year recovery.
Setting up the Cork Entrepreneur’s Network was a way for Laura to give back to the business community. For her, it was borne out of necessity as she felt that there was a gap in the networking circles in Cork. Her work with CEN is pro bono and the network itself is supported by the Cork Local Enterprise Office.
The ethos is introduce – support – collaborate.
I have attended a few of these events with Laura. She always bring a different conversation topic, observations, little tasks and activities for the groups and breakout groups to undertake. Attendance has grown rapidly, to go beyond the Cork borders with people joining from all around the country.
It truly is networking beyond borders.
CEN Pre Covid
The meetings happened on the first Wednesday of every month in a coworking space. The format was warm and welcoming with someone at the door to greet attendees. There would be a social element over drinks or tea/coffee, before being asked to take a seat. The events were scheduled in the evening time.
Laura would introduce CEN, its purpose, the format and the networking would take place. Each event had 1 or 2 guest speakers based on a theme.
She maintained a no-phone policy, unless it was for the purposes of using and connecting on Linkedin.
Covid & The Next Chapter
As with everything in our lives these days, it’s all on Zoom.
Laura brings her energy to the group and facilitates networking with ice-breakers, creating breakout rooms with team activities and pairing people for 1-2-1s. Generally speaking she’ll have 2/3 activities per event to get people connecting.
This is where people have an opportunity to introduce themselves and their business. There is no general ’round robin’, i.e. no overarching 60 second elevator pitch session.
Growth of CEN has been largely through word of mouth and through the social media coverage
Members are an eclectic mix from all different backgrounds and walks of life.
Retired, students, micro businesses, CEOs, small business owners – it’s open to any one who wants to network and connect.
Every Wednesday at midday for two hours.
Over Zoom. An email is sent out each week before the meeting with the Zoom link.
CEN is open to all business owners and professionals, be they employed, self-employed, solopreneurs or SMEs with a business to business or business to consumer focus. It’s an eclectic mix of businesses that you’ll see online each week.
The events are free.
Other Things to Note
Laura is an International Women’s Day ambassador and runs events each year on behalf of the IWD organisation. There is a nominal charge for these events and all monies raised go to Women’s Aid.
Where to Connect
CEN is on Facebook. And you can connect with Laura on her channels as follows:
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