The Oxford Rural Entrepreneurs is holding the second of five networking events at Quehl’s Restaurant in Tavistock on June 16. The networking events will travel across all of Rural Oxford townships this summer.
Rural Oxford’s Economic Development Director, Ronda Stewart, says the community partners are excited to bring people together in-person to network again after two years of pandemic restrictions. “Our first event in May was at the new Oxford Hills Golf Course in Mount Elgin, and we had about 50 people attend. It was a good blend of businesses from across the county.”
Anyone who attended the first event could see how much people missed face-to-face interaction to talk about their business and learn about what others across the county do for a living. “Help them get out of isolation, help them to brainstorm, match new people together, come up with new collaborations, strategic partners, referral networks… there are a lot of benefits to attending networking events and building rapport with others,” adds Stewart.
People are ready to get back to business and Stewart says rural companies were hit especially hard by not being able to network. “Isolation was a huge issue for rural entrepreneurs when our networking was created back in 2019. Add two years of the pandemic on top of that and the isolation of a rural business-person is that much more increased. Within 48 hours, 50 tickets were claimed for the May event, so I think that is indicative of the appetite for people wanting to get back to face-to-face connections. There has been a lot of virtual strides made in the world, but there is nothing like a good old handshake or fist bump.” She adds, “These first round of events were designed to be primarily outdoors to help address everyone’s comfort levels.”
The Oxford Rural Entrepreneurs committee is made up of a collaboration of partner organizations across the county including: Rural Oxford Economic Development, Community Futures Oxford, The Small Business Centre, Oxford County Library and Libro Credit Union. A local business venue in each Rural Oxford township has agreed to host one of these travelling networking sessions. “That is our focus, and it will always remain in the rural townships where there are many incredible small businesses. We do have a blog on our What’s New page (ruraloxford.ca) which speaks to some of the history of Quehl’s, an iconic county eatery for over 90 years. This is rural networking at its roots,” adds Stewart.
The other events are scheduled for:
- Thursday, July 21 – Berrylicious Fruit Farm in Norwich Township
- Thursday, August 18 – Udderly Ridiculous Farm Life in Blandford-Blenheim Township
- Thursday, September 15 – Creekside Wedding Ceremony Venue in Zorra Township
To register for the Tavistock or other networking events, go to ruraloxford.ca/networking.