If the success and spin-offs from the Farmer Wants a Wife concept is anything to go by, Ballarat’s newest networking event will be just the thing to help local businesses find their perfect match. The highly structured Speed Dating for Business free networking event is the brain-child of regional development practitioner and manager of the Central Highlands Digital Enterprise project, Gerrie Carr-MacFie.
“The aim is to decrease trade leakage from the Ballarat region, and increase the amount of localised business-to-business transactions using a mix of face-to-face and online environments” Carr-MacFie said.
She describes the format as similar to that used by singles when attending speed-dating functions. Businesses talk to each other about the goods and services they sell, and the supplies they need. According to Carr-MacFie they are encouraged to look for a supply match. She hopes these ‘dates’ will sweep the local business community off their feet.
"We will act like a dating agency, facilitating a matching process that aligns business inputs to business outputs, so that we contain and grow employment opportunities, and expand business transactions, right here in our region.”
The format requires participants to speak for two minutes to their business 'date', exchange business cards and then move on to the next business 'date'. Facilitators will provide businesses with the support they need to race through the format and win new business at the end of the ‘date’. After the face-to-face event a database will be posted to the Digital Enterprise website. It will provide details on business supply needs and products, and will be made available via a password to all participants.
"In the reverse of singles dating sites it is a bit like looking for love in your own backyard. After this first face-to-face date, businesses can form an on-going relationship, transacting online.”
The free event, commissioned by Central Highlands Digital Enterprise, is part of an Australian Government funded business development project conducted by University of Ballarat in collaboration with local and state government. It aims to prepare the business community for the roll out of next generation broadband. Carr-MacFie advises the arrival of the National Broadband Network will open opportunity for online sales and marketing inside and outside of our region.
“This networking event aligns with our mission to get businesses adapting to a broadband enabled marketplace. Local businesses so often source supplies outside the region because they are unaware of the local capacity. Speed Dating 4 Business is about market awareness, growing local industry interaction, and using online capability in a marriage between actual and virtual transacting. The database we create and use will be an integral part of the process, "Carr-MacFie said.
Speed Dating for Business is a free event and will be held at North Ballarat Sports Club from 5:30pm 22nd May 2013. Businesses must register to attend. Go to www.digibiz.net.au for further information and to register.