Idea: BusinessCamp – conversation and information between local business owners


Starting with my attendance at various BarCamp events and continuing through my recent founding and co-chairing of local CareerCamp events, I have been sold on the concept of the unconference and its ability to help people share what they know with others.

What is an unconference?

Unconferences are self-organizing conferences, similar to many professional conferences, but instead of hiring well-known, professional speakers, they call on the attendees themselves to provide the content and focus for the event. Every person who attends is highly encouraged to present on some topic deeply important to them or, barring that, to facilitate an open breakout session or round table discussion or even just to engage and converse with their fellow attendees between presentations. A few organizers band together to find a venue for the event, recruit sponsors and invite attendees, but the focus of the unconference is driven solely by the attendees.

My latest idea is to bring the power of the unconference to bear upon the owners and operators of small businesses. Like everyone, these business owners have important information for their peers and also a dramatic need for new information and advice.

As a small business owner, it is possible to become very isolated from your local business climate and community. You are pouring all of your attention into making your business a success, or just keeping your head above water in the early years. Unfortunately, this hyper-focus can leave your feeling lonely, tired and abandoned in your fight. We all need an opportunity to raise our heads above the water and get a new perspective. An event like BusinessCamp could be just the ticket.

BusinessCamp can provide and opportunity to learn, and opportunity to teach and, most importantly, an opportunity to connect with your fellow businesspeople to share, commiserate and, at the very best, grow your business and your community.

We all have something to share. I am fond of saying that “an expert is someone who has one more experience or one more piece of information than someone else.” If you have information, there is a host of people who could make use of that information. This is why the peer-to-peer nature of the unconference is so powerful. Not only do we all learn something, more importantly, we learn that we have information that others find useful. We can help ourselves and those around us in one motion.

Based on this short description, are you interested in launching a BusinessCamp unconference in your town — not matter how large or small? Do you wish you had an opportunity to connect with your fellow businesspeople and grow your business? What questions do you have about BusinessCamp?

You can start the discussion right here in the comments section. Click the “Comments” link above and let’s get started!

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2 Responses to Idea: BusinessCamp – conversation and information between local business owners

  1. Barb says:

    BusinessCamp is a great idea! I am still trying to get interest going in a local CareerCamp, but I would also be interested in BusinessCamp. There are some good resources here in my state such as SCORE, SBA, Amoskeag Business Incubator and others, but it would be great to hear from the actual business owners in an unconference. Is that what you had in mind?

  2. dewelch says:

    Yes, exactly. I believe there is huge amounts of “real world” knowledge in the local community that can be shared with fellow business people in the ara. This is one area where I think unconferences truly shine.

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