Live in Austin, Texas? Expand your professional and social circles with these networking opportunities. Who knows, you might find your next boss – or maybe just a new best friend!
There’s more to be found in Austin than live music and BBQ. It’s a top-notch city for networking, and the easiest place to start a business given the low tax structure, business-friendly climate, and overall collaborative environment.
Consistently ranked as one of the top places to live and work in the country, Austin holds favorable opportunities for those in the tech, engineering, and information technology fields, among others. If you’re looking for networking opportunities in Austin, you’re in the right place, as the city is in constant celebration of the collaborative, hard-working, and entrepreneurial spirit.
Below are 9 networking events in Austin that recur either monthly or yearly. Find the one that works for your schedule, and open the door to your next potential gig or business opportunity.
1. Young Men’s Business League
The Young Men’s Business League (YMBL) is a service organization in Austin that holds a variety of recurring events for young men looking to form business or personal relationships, and make a difference in the community. They hold monthly lunches, workshops, spring and fall flings, and 5k/10k runs, but their biggest project is Sunshine Camp, where members of YMBL assist as camp counselors and encourage children to live positive and meaningful lives.
2. Freelancers Union After Hours
Freelancers Union is an organization built on supporting independent freelancers across the country. In their first ever nationwide after work event, they now hold monthly ‘After Hours’ networking events specifically for freelancers on the first Wednesday of every month at 6pm local time in cities such as Austin, Los Angeles, and Portland. Feel free to get chummy with a local Austin freelancer at this event and discuss gigs, creativity, and resources.
3. National Association of Professional Women Monthly Meetings (Austin Chapter)
The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) is a fast-growing women’s networking group with 300 local chapters across the nation, and a whopping 600,000 members. Their mission is to provide women a forum to connect, create, and exchange powerful stories on business and career development. Their Austin chapter holds meetings once monthly at various locations, usually featuring a guest speaker, snacks, and powerful mentorship opportunities.
4. Austin Young Chamber of Commerce Speaker Series
Focusing on creating networking relationships for young professionals, the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce (AYC) holds a speaker series once a month, allowing young professionals from all over Austin to join, listen, and collaborate with professionals in a wide range of industries from entrepreneurship, technology, and the department of transportation.
“The goal is to help engage our members in the community and increase access to community leaders,” says Matt Glazer, executive director of the AYC.
The speaker series is one of many events aimed at helping young professionals become leaders in the business community.
5. Austin Tech Happy Hour
Everyone loves a casual happy hour. If you live in Austin and specialize in the technology industry, this networking event is for you. Every other month or so, people from the Austin community gather to mix and mingle about all things tech. There aren’t any speakers or agendas, but everyone gets two drink tickets and the opportunity to catch up with the latest in technology, and form new relationships.
6. South By Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW)
The infamous South by Southwest festival has brought some of the most talented people in music, film, and technology together in Austin for 21 years now. The interactive portion of the festival is a breeding ground for innovation and ideas, and entrepreneurs looking to spread them. Network with people who are ‘creating the technology of today’, attend special events, and hobnob with a few of your peers at the Interactive awards.
7. Local Austin Linkedin Networking
What started out as a professional networking group on Linkedin quickly became a monthly networking event on the last Tuesday of every month for Austin professionals. For the last 4 years, the people of the Local Austin Linkedin Networking group have been meeting up once a month to connect more than just digitally. The event is free and open to the public, and a Linkedin account is not necessary to join in on the fun.
8. Campfire Team Building
If you’re not into the whole ‘bar-networking’ vibe, Tech Ranch Austin provides what they call Campfire Team Building, a more immersive form of networking that is more than just an exchange of business cards. Targeted towards startups in the Austin community, Campfire goes one step further than networking in that it brings people together for various team-building initiatives. They divide attendees up in groups to discuss ways of advancing ideas and knowledge, building social capital, and creating value for one another.
9. Austin Startup Week
Austin Startup Week is fun for everyone, regardless of where you’re at in your career. Each year they hold around 40 events spanning five days, showcasing Austin’s thriving startup community. One of their most popular events is the ‘startup crawl’, where you can ‘crawl’ 70 or so startups lined up on various building floors, grabbing drinks with founders and co-founders, and taking tours. The best part is, most of the events are free!
Now that you’ve got a handful of networking events to attend, go out there and show them what you’re worth! Do bring the business cards, and don’t forget to smile.
Monique Muro blogs at A Novel Quest and tweets at @moniquemuro. Her goal is to generate awesome for the world through websites, mobile apps, and one day, very thick books.