Most entrepreneurs want to do more business and will often go to Facebook or Linkedin to run ads so they can generate more traffic to their site in the hope they will generate more sales. But this can be a costly experiment. Instead, why not consider the many offline ways you can find to generate more business? After all, this is about building relationships.

Through my own experiences as a migrant entrepreneur and prior to founding my social enterprise ‘This Foreigner Can’, I know first hand that finding the right network to become a member of is crucial to growing your business. So here are some of the networks I have found to be really good – and once you put effort into building relationships, you will see that more business will come your way in no time.

WeConnect’s director Maggie Berry is a wonderful advocate for women in business. WeConnect helps women-owned businesses to succeed in global value chains. If a business is 51% owned by women they will help the business win contracts with large companies like HP or Google. They run training and networking events and are all over the world. If you are a woman in business and want to be part of a supply chain to a large company, get in touch with Maggie.

A less formal setting where LGBT owners meet for drinks to network and exchange business cards, Village Drinks is probably the most famous LGBT network event in London. Events range from dinners to workshops and talks. It’s very friendly so expect to talk to a lot of people. Intertech is for the LGBT tech community. If you are starting a tech company (website or app) and want to get to know LGBT people in tech, this is a great opportunity. They host great events in companies like Amazon and Goldman Sachs so connections are made and knowledge exchanged. Highly recommended if you are in the tech sector (from fashion, food or any other industry related to tech).

Business Networking International is probably the world’s most structured networking group. They have very early breakfast meetings (from 7am to 830am) but some of the groups have lunch meetings. I was a member for 3 years when I had my property business and I thought the networking is great. You make friends and develop really great business relationships. They have a membership fee, and you pay for your breakfast/lunch every meeting (they meet once a week). Highly recommended.

A new concept has been introduced by the IoD, a club where members between 18 and 40 can join paying only £99 a year. The idea is to nurture new startups in the IoD to grow and become big businesses. The IoD has the reputation of being stuffy and pretentious and being a ‘gentleman’s club’ but Lady Barbara Judge CBE – appointed new IoD chair – wants to change this image. Lady Barbara wants more women and young businesses to become members. The membership offers use of the Pall Mall building around 50 times a year for meetings plus a whole range of services such as tax advice and law advice. Worth applying if you just started your venture.

If you are in the technology sector and want to meet designers, developers and aspiring CEOs, you should take a look at this networking group. Silicon Drink About has several groups around the UK, so if you want to meet people in London, Manchester or Leeds, this is the place to go.

It’s super friendly and they are open to everyone. Expect a lot of geeks and techie chats but if you want to get into the ‘Silicon Valley of London’, this is the network for you to attend. Open to all colours, races, genders and shapes!

For more information why not watch my video on the topic?

About the Author

Rafael Dos Santos is a successful migrant entrepreneur and founder of This Foreigner Can, a social enterprise designed to help more migrant entrepreneurs to succeed in setting up a business in the UK. For more information visit

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