There’s several benefits we could list - but you’ll know best why you’re there. We think joining a group can offer a friendly environment to meet new people, learn new things, and see new places. For some people it’s a networking opportunity for work, or helps keep them fresh on new topics with the people they meet, or it can help keep you accountable for reaching your goals instead of binging on Netflix. We think groups are especially beneficial if you are a first-time founder looking to meet other entrepreneurs.
If you can’t find a group that matches your needs and interests, you can consider starting a new one! With a few clicks you can start a meetup group or create an eventbrite and get even closer to finding other like-minded people. Before you create a brand new group, be sure to look through Meetup.Com and Facebook to be sure similar groups don’t exist - since we can’t gather information automatically from 3rd-party sites, some of them don’t end up on the EcoMap.
Most meetups are absolutely free and more than anything their priority is to meet like minded people. On a rare occasion a group might do a fundraiser or ask for a $5 dollar membership fee, this can sometimes help establish people that are a little more committed to the group. For Professional Associations, typically there is a pretty hefty membership fee, but sometimes you can go to a meeting for free to see if you like it. For Networking groups, there also tends to be a membership fee, but sometimes it is flexible or only based on the specific events you go to.
No you don’t, in fact it’s a great way to meet new people. These groups are the type of place where you’re *supposed* to meet new people and make new friends. Also feel free to bring someone along with you, and if you’d like there’s always the option to message the group administrator/leader and let them know it’s your first time - they’ll be excited to hear you’re coming, and will likely make an effort to help you get to know the other members.
A group is our way of describing some collection of people who share the same interests, industries, or aspirations. Groups can be monthly meetup groups around a certain topic area, they can be Professional Associations for those working in a given profession, or they can be Networking groups. The definition is pretty broad, but the purpose of a Group is simple: to find your people.
When building a startup, small business, or nonprofit, it’s important that you get plugged in to your local innovation community. You’ll meet other entrepreneurs, mentors, and even investors more quickly. If you’re just getting started, try attending some local innovation events, or joining a meetup group. Add your public profile and venture info on your profile so that other users on EcoMap Baltimore can support you! Finally, look for Incubator programs - these will help get you plugged into the ecosystem quickly.