Cashing in Connections

by Caleb Thomas

The IDEA Bank and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce held the Business After Hours networking event last Thursday to connect students with the business owners of Troy.

“It’s an opportunity for local business professionals, business owners, and those that are involved in the community to meet-and-greet, to socialize and to make connections and networking,” said Preston Pritchett, Program Coordinator at the IDEA Bank and a lecturer in the Sorrell College of Business.

Organizers say linking business owners together can bring about financial growth in the whole region, and it’s a win-win scenario for everyone involved.

“The IDEA Bank and the Chamber of Commerce both want to support small businesses and aspiring small business owners,” said Lynne George, the Director of Economic Development for Troy University and the IDEA Bank. “We try to provide an environment and a place for them to come together and share ideas.”

The relaxed atmosphere, which included live music played by the band Wesley Hill, provided an avenue for entrepreneurs to connect.

“Studies have shown that people enjoy doing business with people that they know,” said Dana Sanders, the president of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce. “These types of events create those opportunities to make those connections.”

Although business may seem like a numbers game to some people, organizers say community and connections are foundational aspects in the world of entrepreneurship, and networking allows businesses to maintain a bond that stretches beyond the event itself. 

            “It’s all about connections,” George said. “You never know what partnership is going to form just by meeting someone at an event.”                 

In addition to the networking for small business owners, the IDEA Bank and Pike County Chamber of Commerce used it as an avenue to support small businesses.

            “We try to bring people together, and then it gives us an opportunity to support small businesses ourselves, like our flowers and our food are all from small businesses,” George said. “It really positively impacts everybody.”

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