Start with courage and…
It’s always fun to remember the beginnings. We’re certain you’re describing your first project in detail with a huge smile on your face! Along with enthusiasm, challenges always exist as well. That was the case with our SxSE JAZZ networking event.
Four years ago, we at Impact Hub Belgrade decided to raise networking to a higher level. You’re aware how important it is to grow a network. Also, you are probably aware how unpleasant networking can be. Presenting yourself and your work in front of unknown people is stressful.
Even if you’re an extrovert, networking events are a trip out of that nice & cozy comfort zone.
… don’t be afraid of experimenting and testing!
Hub is like our second home. Thus it made sense to create the most relaxed and pleasant networking ever known to mankind. Preparing for that first SxSE JAZZ years ago, we were so excited we nearly fainted! After around two hours in the kitchen, we made all the food, organized amazing drinks and music… For a stellar number of five guests. Understandably, because Impact Hub Belgrade just opened and slowly, more people came.
During next couple of years, literally every element of this event was changed. Those elements were: time, duration, refreshments and food, concept, description, guests… Various forms were tested, we experimented a lot, something worked and rest we removed. What we didn’t expect is how the entire story will evolve…
New collaborations and development of startups
“The richest people in the world build networks. Everyone else is trained to look for work.”
Imagine a large, sunny terrace in the heart of the city, and yourself casually sipping wine or beer while listening to smooth jazz… Our spring/summer version of SxSE JAZZ looks like that. It’s truly (hedonistically) unique!
Of course, there’s more to it than enjoyment in music and drinks. The most powerful results come from connections. Simply, when your surrounding is so relaxed, then it’s much easier to network and mingle. Another advantage of SxSE JAZZ is the availability of our skilled team. Often, someone needs a co-founder, but there’s a dilemma. Should one look for a partner instead and what is the exact difference? Hub’s team gladly answers these questions and directs the communication in a right direction.
We love how easy it was for our guests and members to make new partnerships, collaborations and friendships in this atmosphere!
Who are the guests of SxSE JAZZ?
This networking event is not only visited by the members of Impact Hub. It’s the diversity that brings the best results. Diversity in business background, expertise, experience, nationality, gender, interests… We’re open for anyone who wants to grow in a professional and personal way. Usually, people need to register even for free events. When it comes to SxSE JAZZ, there’s no such requirement, our doors are wide open. We believe in the power of diversity, so anyone can just come, introduce themselves (and behave, of course) to open new possibilities for anyone.
Guests of the SxSE JAZZ meetings are entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, freelancers, corporate employees, students with innovative ideas, members NGOs and organisations… Everyone, regardless of their profile, come here to share their ideas and make them possible.
The main purpose is growth – through learning and discovery of mutually shared elements. Still, a couple of stories shine really bright…
Community of women entrepreneurs
Women entrepreneurs are facing many challenges. On the other side, men in exact same roles do not face the same barriers (at least not to such extent). Seems like the positions are identical at the moment, but still far from equal.
This is why women founders and CEOs find SxSE JAZZ beneficial in many ways:
- They’re not under spotlight and feel no judgment from the community
- Our network of women founders is large, so each women feels relaxed and understood
- There’s obvious freedom of idea sharing
- Support surrounds them in multiple forms: connections, resources, opportunities
- Each part of the experience is crafted for their needs
Here’s what happens when business women join forces. This year, one women-led startup showed exceptional progress.
Founded by Jana Tufegdžić, Whisperr is a dating app based on voice. Jana had an amazing idea, built a product, but she faced a serious barrier. 90% of investors she met and pitched for said that she needs a co-founder. Solopreneurs are simply not that attractive in means of investing. The logic is – one sole founder is able to cope with some, but not all aspects of development. Luckily, Jana was already our member and during one SxSE JAZZ event, she met Jovana and she became the co-founder of Whisperr! These two business-women combined their skills and now the startup is rapidly growing.
Definitely, we’ll remain dedicated to women entrepreneurship in 2019, because every step forward brings amazing rewards.
Boosted visibility through promotion
Networking, especially in such a pleasant form, is an space for presentation. In a way, SxSE JAZZ could be viewed as a free marketing channel! Some guests wish to present an idea, some already have a service or a product. Whether you’re looking for customers or a collaboration, this event is a perfect opportunity.
Truth to say, there are few occasions where it’s okay to show our business achievements, needs, express our vision and mission. Jana from Whisperr is not the only example of successful collabs in this relaxed networking scenario. One of mentors, Nenad, also met like-minded entrepreneurs here in the Hub. Soon after meeting, they started a completely new startup in eCommerce which had enormous success. Nenad also met with our Hub member Marijana, they felt in love, got married and have a beautiful baby. We saw a similar progress in our startup acceleration teams (OK, not all of them fall in love and have babies). There were ten teams in last year’s Accelerator and many found the benefit in boosted visibility.
Beside startups, which need to be visible in order to quickly grow, small business and brands share the same need. Perfect examples are companies promoting their products on the spot. SxSE JAZZ is powered by extraordinary wine by Vinarija Komuna and craft beer from Kaš pivo. We even have our special beer named by Impact Hub itself – Habaš!
Artists who make SxSE JAZZ truly sexy
During all these years, we happily developed win-win collaborations with extraordinary musicians. Thanks to their incredible performances of jazz classics, each Friday we feel like guests of most luxurious cruisers. Far away from the sea, yes, but we’re enjoying beyond words!
In utmost gratitude, we’d like to mention just some of great musicians who still do or used to participate in the SxSE JAZZ:
- Milovan Paunović, piano
- Katarina Kačunković, singer
- Jovana Milošević, singer
- Iva Kostić, singer
- Maja Klisinski, singer
- Branko Marković, bass
- Boris Sainović, bass
- Miloš Grabatinić, drums
- Bogdan Đurđević, drums
- Luka Ignjatović, saxophone
- Ivan Radivojević, trumpet
- Fabio Martineli, guitar and voice