Networking Sites Help Young, Biz-Savvy Chicagoans Connect

BY KAREN LEIGH – MEDILL NEWS SERVICE

As companies such as the Loop venture capital startup midVentures spring up with greater frequency in the Chicago area, networking companies and pedestrian networkers like Facebook are quickly rising to the challenge to unite young entrepreneurs in the Windy city. 

Chicago boasts a large population of young business people, and now, new local networking sites are making it easier than ever for young professionals to meet. Local social networking companies such as Netparty, which links up younger Chicago workers with their cohorts in the same field, are helping bridge gaps between up-and-comers in the local business community.

“I would use a local networker to find other people in my profession,” said Whitney Woodward, 24, a freelance writer who works at a nonprofit organization and lives in Streeterville. “There’s strength in numbers, and it would help me find out what’s going on in the industry and get tips from colleagues.” 

Members of the marketing and communications communities frequent events hosted by the local branch of Media Bistro in order to see what others in their field are doing.

The Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, begun in 2004, is one of the original social networking groups for young pros. Reaching Chicago entrepreneurs aged 20 to 35, it targets those who run their own companies in the Web design, marketing, consulting and software industries.

“One of the organization’s goals is to create a supportive community of peers that fosters relationship building, partnership development and learning opportunities,” its president, Mark Carter, told MidwestBusiness.com.

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