How to develop a professional network in Edinburgh

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Updated on 15 October, 2019

Edinburgh is a vibrant city of innovation and commerce, with a booming financial sector, a diverse business scene, and plenty of roles in the creative industries. Make the most of your time in the city and boost your future career prospects by attending these essential networking events.

General networking in Edinburgh

The website Eventbrite offers a wealth of both free and more formal, paid networking events for all industries. Find Networking Events is another website created for this purpose, while Groups such as Every Monday hold casual meetup events in cities across the UK, with a weekly event in Edinburgh.

Business Network International (BNI) is a well-known networking organisation, with local ‘chapters' around the world. There are five chapters in Edinburgh alone. BNI only permits one person from each industry sector in each chapter in order to avoid competition, so you will need to investigate which chapter has current openings for your line of work. You will also be expected to attend a weekly networking event. However, while this is a sizeable commitment, BNI is focused on generating leads, so your time should pay off. You can find our more on BNI's website.

If you are seeking a more relaxed, general networking opportunity then ConnectED provides a weekly event in central Edinburgh, with the opportunity to chat and connect with other professionals. These are entirely free to attend. ConnectedED's LinkedIn group will keep you in the loop of its latest events.

Don't be afraid to venture out of the city - Glasgow is less than an hour's train journey away and also provides plentiful networking opportunities.

Industry-specific networking in Edinburgh

Look to join professional bodies and societies within your industry for the best networking opportunities. Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce runs its own networking events regularly, and as well as meeting business connections, these events are a great way to find out more about what's happening in the city. Events include business breakfasts, networking lunches, and social meetups. One of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce's most interesting offerings is speed networking, which provides a chance to chat to every other attendee in a quickfire, speed dating style. You can find details of these on their website.

Edinburgh is known for its financial sector, and there are plenty of networking groups in this industry. The female-specific Women in Banking and Finance (WIBF) provides motivational talks, skills workshops, and conferences. Meanwhile, the Scottish Financial Enterprise hosts regular events in Edinburgh that are a great opportunity not only to meet potential business connections but learn about the future of the industry as a whole.

For those in the creative industries, Creative Mornings' Edinburgh chapter holds a monthly event, each around a different theme. These are designed to inspire your own creative projects and meet potential collaborators, rather than act as a more formal business environment. A great option if you are hoping to make friendships out of your networking events too!

Building business connections takes time, and Scots won't respond well to pushy networking. Find more information on networking etiquette in Edinburgh.

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