The Business Partnership Network (BPN) was conceptualized in 2014 by eight members of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Montgomery County who were exasperated by the high dues, structure, and strict participation requirements of national business networking associations.
After fervently seeking out a referral-based, weekly networking alternative and finding none, they approached the chamber for help in organizing their own.
Less than a year later the first BPN group was formed in Lansdale.
The newly conceived group was like the national associations. For example, it incorporated key characteristics such as permitting only one representative per business category.
But a big differentiator was the significantly decreased the costs.
Also, participation requirements were revised to include chamber membership and bylaws that focused on commitment without unnecessary pressure.
Retained, however, were the compelling results these organizations yield.
Today, there are a total of five BPN groups bolstering over 80 participants. With a variety of locations, meeting dates, and times it is a flexible opportunity for chamber members to expand their business and professional networks.
Joel Limbauan, On a Limb Productions Inc., is a BPN member of the planning committee for Norristown Hospitality Center’s Sole Harvest 5k and one-mile walk. The fundraiser supports the center’s mission to serve people experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County.
“It’s become a great BPN event as well,” he said. “I was able to pass several referrals for things we needed for the race like balloon columns, screen printed t-shirts, and promotional products for the race bags. The group also rallied around the cause, with several members sponsoring and also participating in the event.”
The network’s continued purpose since inception is to foster the growth of member businesses through a mutual commitment of support via referrals and contact with fellow participants. Groups are led voluntarily, and committee roles include chair, vice chair, secretary, and chamber liaison.
On the horizon, one BPN group formally located in Fort Washington will be moving to Plymouth Meeting.
All groups are actively recruiting for membership, and guests are always welcome to attend a complimentary meeting to determine if BPN is the right fit for them.
More about the Business Partnership Network is online.