Staying Connected: Building Entrepreneurial Networks

March 1, 2004  • Candace Nelson

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Volume six of FIELD’s Best Practice series explores the ways in which “networking” can be supported by microenterprise assistance programs. A buzzword conjuring images of young professionals at a Friday afternoon happy hour, or of “old boy” networks linking boardrooms to golf courses, networks can be invaluable to microentrepreneurs as well. Networking for microentrepreneurs is a concept that previously has been addressed in a haphazard fashion leading to varying degrees of success. This guide establishes a rationale for a conscious approach to networking by presenting several examples of successful networks and detailing the ways microentrepreneurial assistance organizations have been able to foster their clients’ development of these networks. Included are seven tools that practitioner organizations have used in assisting their clients with the establishment of entrepreneurial networks.