Advice

8 Bellingham Networking Events You Should Be Attending

There’s no question that knowing the right people can be a huge advantage in business. In any working environment we’re more willing to send opportunities to people we are already familiar with than someone we just met. Building a strong relationship with your local business community should be a top priority whether you’re an entrepreneur or an established business owner. Here’s a list of local opportunities to help you get started on making those connections.

Chamber Of Commerce Networking Breakfast

One of the chamber’s monthly networking offerings, the Networking Breakfast regularly draws around 100-120 attendees. This event is for people who love to socialize and ask questions. In the words of the chamber, its like “speed dating for business.” Attendees get the chance to give a one-minute speech to their partner, and trade business cards. Then you switch tables and repeat the process.

If you show up early for you can have a chance to socialize before the networking begins.

The Networking Breakfast is held at Northwood Hall the second Friday of every month, from 7:15am to 9:00am. The event is $14.00 to attend for non-members.

Business After Business

Another part of the Chamber’s efforts to provide networking opportunities and promote member businesses is the popular Business After Business. It’s networking in a more casual atmosphere than the Networking Breakfast.

The tagline for Business After Business is: “Come for the great food and alcohol and stay for the networking … or vice versa. Have fun, play games, win prizes, meet new people and make new friends!”

Each event is also sponsored by a local business, who usually also hosts the event at their location and provides the refreshments. The event is free to attend for members and non-members. It is held on the third Thursday of each month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.*

*Note: March’s Business After Business will be replaced by the Chamber’s Spring Business Showcase.

Monthly Member Lunch

The Chamber’s newest networking option is a lunch reserved for members. The Monthly Member Lunch is meant to engage members in the latest business and community news, including updates on industrial projects and major commercial development, presentations from legislative and agency partners including the airport, tourism, state and local representatives, and other topics that are affecting the local business community.

The schedule includes a brief introduction by that month’s sponsor, a speech by a local nonprofit, and then a keynote speaker. The programming is followed by a half hour dedicated to networking.

The Member Lunch costs $15 with RSVP or $20 at the door, with the price including lunch. It is held on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Hampton Inn’s Fox Hall, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm.

black chairs around black table on white background

Whatcom Women’s Network Meetings

The Whatcom Women’s Network mission is to promote the business and personal success of local professionals through weekly meetings that combine a social atmosphere with networking, business promotion, and quality member-to-member referrals.

The weekly meetings take place on Thursdays at the Fairhaven On Rice from 12:00pm to 1:15pm. The schedule for these meetings includes time for each member and guest to introduce themselves, time for announcements and discussion of business referrals, and a 10 minute presentation by the featured speaker.

Both men and women are welcome to attend the meetings. Non-members may attend twice as guests before choosing whether to apply for membership.

WYPS Events

The Whatcom Young Professionals group was created in 2006 with the idea that young local entrepreneurs needed their own networking events and organization to help promote fresh business practices and ideas.

WYPS Monthly Social

The first and most popular of the WYPS networking events is the monthly social. The social is hosted at a local business every month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. It gives members the opportunity to get together, eat, drink, socialize, and network. Appetizers are provided by the organization.

Morning Buzz (Weekly)

The WYPS also provides weekly networking opportunities for members who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and smaller groups. These events are held at the Barkley Woods Coffee on Tuesdays at 8:30am, and the Railroad Woods Coffee on Wednesdays at 8:00am.

In addition to the Monthly Social and Morning Buzz events, the WYPS also hosts a variety of educational and service opportunities to help members gain experience and network outside the organization. Check out their website for more information on these events.

Whatcom Referral Network (Weekly)

Billing itself as “Bellingham’s hardest working networking group”, the Whatcom Referral Network gives members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts, and, of course, referrals. Only one representative of each business or occupational category is allowed in the organization, which keeps members from competing among themselves.

The WRN currently has 25 members from across Bellingham’s business community. Every week a member is featured on their site.

The Whatcom Referral Network meets every Thursday morning at 7:00am in the Gateway Centre Executive Suites. To learn how to attend as a guest or join the organization, contact them through their website.

Sustainable Connections Member Events

One of the largest networking groups in the area, Sustainable Connections has been around for over 10 years. The organization has over 400 members, a full staff and board of directors, and a budget nearing $1 million per year. The group focuses on sustainable business practices, and connecting member businesses with a commitment to sustainability.

The Sustainable Connections Monthly Member Lunch and Member Connect are also some of the most popular networking events in Whatcom county. Member Connect takes place at the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center every month from 7:15am to 8:30am. The Monthly Member Lunch takes place at the Sustainable Connections office from 11:45am to 1:30pm. For specific dates visit the Sustainable Connections events page.

 

These are just some of our favorite networking opportunities around Bellingham. Want to tell us about your experience with one of these events, or give a shoutout to an event that isn’t listed? Let us know in the comments!

Tobias Osterhaug

Tobias Osterhaug

Tobias is a full-time contributor to Bellingham Business News, covering local business events, tech news, and advice for job seekers in the Bellingham area. He graduated from Western Washington University with a double major in History and Chinese Language & Cultural Studies, and has previously worked as a coordinator in Western’s Writing Center.

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