Mid-2018, NEDonBoard started running match-making events. Our objective was to further support our members in connecting them with their local business community and securing roles, as non-executive directors and/or advisory board members.
Our two pilot events in Edinburgh proved successful. NEDonBoard partnered with the RBS Entrepreneur Accelerator and received strong engagement from both entrepreneurs and the Scottish NEDonBoard community of NXDs. Stuart Dearden, RBS Entrepreneur Development Manager said that the “entrepreneurs involved felt the quality of potential NXDs was high and were impressed with their calibre”.
From Q2 2019, we have expanded our match-making events beyond Edinburgh to offer such opportunities to our members across the UK. In the blog, we outline our recommendations to those interested in participating in our upcoming events.
- Business connections. The NEDonBoard match-making events allow for business connections to be created between entrepreneurs and NEDs. While initial connections are established through networking at the event, they need to be followed up on so that a relationship is created and results in a formal appointment as a NED or advisory board member. A role is not found at the event but in the following weeks, after a constructive initial exchange at the NEDonBoard event.
- Start-up and scale-up businesses. NEDs must acknowledge that entrepreneurs housed by accelerators are at the start-up or high-growth phases of the development of their businesses. This type of environment is not as structured as one will find in a mature business that has been operating for years. Not all NEDs would thrive in such environments. This is an important consideration when you decide to attend.
- NED vs. advisory board member. Make sure you understand the difference between an advisory board role and a NED position. Some entrepreneurs are not ready to “give up control” and are more inclined to offer advisory board roles.
Related post: why companies should consider setting up advisory boards.
- Come with an open mind. Entrepreneurs attending the NEDonBoard match-making events come from a variety of backgrounds and their businesses operate in a wide range of sectors. Best practice is for attendees to come with an open mind and focus on interpersonal relationships. Skills and experiences are typically transferrable across sectors.
- Cross-generational networking. The NEDonBoard match-making events allow the community of NEDs to meet with a young generation of entrepreneurs. There is a clear need for connections for generations to work together so that the experience of the NEDs support entrepreneurs in transforming their vision into a viable business or growing their operations, etc.
Note that space is limited. Match-making events are only open to fee-paying members of NEDonBoard.
If you have attended a NEDonBoard match-making event, we would love to hear from you! Please contact [email protected] with your comments and tell us whether the connections established during the events have resulted in a role. We look forward to receiving your e-mail.
Elise Perraud, on behalf of NEDonBoard