What’s an Entrepreneur Club?

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Entrepreneurs’ clubs provide networking opportunities and support for small business development, with activities such as training and technical assistance. They can be independent or part of a larger network and may offer incubation services and funding opportunities.

An entrepreneurs’ club is a gathering of like-minded people who are interested in small business development. The club may have other characteristics, such as being associated with a school, as well as a prior or gender restriction. These types of clubs become popular when there is an economic downturn and government stimulus programs focus on small business development. They also offer unique opportunities, especially when advances in technology or productivity open up new areas for business expansion.

One of the main goals of an adult business club is to provide networking opportunities for members who likely already own small businesses. Business development often depends on relationships and the owner’s ability to identify and attract new commitments. A young entrepreneur club might focus on education, as its members would likely be teenagers or college students who haven’t started their own businesses yet.

Other types of activities that can be part of the agenda of entrepreneurs’ clubs are training, technical assistance and special events. The club usually has a roster of elected officers to develop a member enrichment program. Members may receive fees to pay for programming support resources. These types of clubs are much like an interest group or association.

Typically, clubs are formed in connection with a host organization. For example, a college or university will likely have its own entrepreneurs’ club, and clubs from different schools could be networked together as an association. Chambers of Commerce in some areas have sponsored clubs for people wanting to start a business and current members who own small businesses. National and international specialist groups interested in specific types of entrepreneurship will also create chapters in different locations.

An entrepreneurial club can also serve as an incubator for budding entrepreneurs and provide support until the business can strike out on its own. These types of clubs provide back-end services such as shared office space, phone service, Internet access, and hostess services for a low fee. An incubator-type club will also likely focus on seed funding and teach members how to get loans and pursue venture capital. Occasionally, a club of entrepreneurs offering incubation services in a hot sector such as Internet technology will be funded by a government agency.

Clubs that promote entrepreneurship can be organized to do anything that concerns a group of prospective or existing small business owners. The club can be independent or part of a niche-based entrepreneurship network. It can focus on education and training or provide substantive services such as incubation, mentoring and fund matching. There are thousands of these clubs around the world and they probably cover everything that could be of interest to the entrepreneur.

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