Linked for business
By: Shree Lahiri Date: 2010-04-09 Place: Pune
Networking forum LinkedPune allows city professionals to interact, share business leadsNetworking seems to be the buzzword today for upwardly mobile professionals who make efficient use of networking sites to further their business activities. LinkedPune was started by Shwetank Upadhyaya (32) on similar lines, for the benefit of city professionals. Talking about how LinkedPune started, Upadhyaya, the CEO of an e-learning company, said, "While I was checking out for a social club where industry owners, professionals could share business leads, I saw there was none. In this process, I started LinkedPune in 2008."He said, "What I started was a free system, online on the LinkedIn site." He explained, "For instance, if I do an e-learning project for Some client, and if there's work there which I do not handle then I can pass it on to other specialists for free."Shwetank personally checks the profiles of people who want to become a member. If the profiles match the requirements of the group, then only does he give the permission to join the group. "I get about 30 requests daily, and hardly 2 to 3 get selected," he said. Currently there are 1800 members on LinkedPune. Manish Gosalia (40), a consultant who handles design management programs in a management education group in the city (amongst other things he's into), said, "LinkedIn is becoming popular and has even opened an office in Mumbai. I was there for the first meet of LinkedPune and I think this is a great way to interact with professionals in the city." He added, "It is a more holistic forum where people can spend time and look at options for networking." Deepak Motiramani, one of the founder members who heads marketing for an e-learning company recalled, "I was checking for a forum where professionals could share business leads and I found it in LinkedIn."He added that LinkedPune was involved in many other activities. "We have general meets and topic-based meets too," he said. Shwetank added, "Some of the topic-based meets have been related to the industry and market conditions. 'Economy Slowdown and Survival Tactics' was held in August 2009 and an 'Investors Meet' was held in October 2009. They even had a screening of a movie 'The Secret' that was followed by a discussion."They are trying to streamline and work towards business development of the group members as Shwetank reminded us, "economy is now looking up." A general meet is being planned in July by the group that will focus on investors. Many industry leaders are expected to attend it. "For the meet we will be charging Rs 1,000 from the delegates, out of which Rs 100 will go to an orphanage," informed Shwetank. Several members got together at a meet on April 2 at Post 91 at Koregaon Park in "a totally informal setting, and it was more than just khaana peena," as Shwetank concluded.Anyone who is on the LinkedIn site is eligible to join the group, all you have to do is put up a request. Your profile is screened and you are given access. No fee is charged.