Top 8 networking events in Cape Town

by | Oct 6, 2017 | Tips | 0 comments

“Networking is like exercise,You know you must, but do you? And you know if you do, you’ll feel better.” says Candace Corlett, president of WSL, a big retail strategy consulting firm in the US. I agree with her but there is also ways you can make it easier for yourself.

One of them is going to the right events. Cape Town is fortunate enough to have a variety of events that you can use to build your personal network and engage with your topic of interest. If you don’t know where to start this roundup of the top 8 networking events in Cape Town will hopefully help you get started.

Pro Tip; Be courageous and go to the events alone. Even if it’s tempting, don’t take a friend. If you are attending an event on your own, you are much more likely to talk to a stranger.

1. Startup Grind

Startup Grind event picture

Startup Grind and Silicon Cape events have become institutions in the Cape Town business world and also in the event scene. The monthly event series highlights the success and failure of local startups and allows the audience to address questions afterwards. They always have a great selection of speakers and the interview scenario makes it more relaxed and less one-dimensional.

Crowd: Differs quite a lot depending on the speaker and the topic.

Cost: R80 – R100

Location: Workshop17


2. Silicon Cape talks

Silicon Cape is a non profit company committed to building and catalysing the technology ecosystem in the Western Cape. Founded in 2009, the organisation has grown to over 10 000 individual members, representing over 500 organisations with close ties with other professional bodies such as Wesgro, CITI and Global Entrepreneurship, the government of the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town.

Their talk events range from Tech ekasi, which aims at startups solving township challenges to Women in Tech to AI. The setup usually includes a keynote speaker and a panel discussion.

Crowd: Depends a lot on the topic and the speakers

Cost: Free

Location: Workshop17


3. THINK.Thursday

THINK.Thursday is not on everyone’s radar yet and that is what makes is so special. It is meant to be a meeting point for individuals who are passionate about positive change. Claire Jowell started the bi-monthly event with the aim to connect solution driven people from different professional and personal backgrounds.

As most of the networking events in Cape Town the session is kicked of with a talk by an expert of the field. Previous topics ranged from education to sustainable energy to inclusive business. The Think audience is usually quite engaged, which makes the discussion part as valuable as the talk.

Crowd: Quite a mixed bunch of people. Mostly young entrepreneurial thinkers who instead of just wanting to build something, want to build something that has a positive impact.

Cost: R50

Location: 75 Harrington, a great co-working space in town.


4. Heavy Chef

The name comes from the saying never trust a skinny chef. Heavy Chef features people who walk the talk and practice what they preach – who eat their own food. Starting out as an event series, it has now fully evolved into a full grown business including a magazine, shows and workshops. Their latest event which took place in Joburg and later on in Cape Town, featured one of South Africa’s leading ladies in asset management Magda Wierzycka. If you have missed it, check it out here.

Crowd: Used to be a lot of people working in marketing, nowadays attract all kinds of entrepreneurial thinkers.

Cost: R50

Location: They have recently also moved to the Workshop17 venue.


5. Meetup

It is important to say that you choose your network. On Meetup you can literally find all kinds of topic or profession related groups. If your are particularly interested in coding, join the Cape Town frontend developers or the Cape Town Javascript group. If you work as a product manager maybe Product Tank Cape Town is your tribe and for people wanting to expand their cryptocurrency knowledge Ethereum meetups could be the way to start.

Crowd: Completely mixed

Cost: Mostly free

Location: Most of them are in town


6. Creative Morning

CreativeMornings is an international monthly breakfast lecture series designed for creative communities. In Cape Town it happens every last Friday of the month and it’s something I very much look forward to each time. The local Creative Mornings team does a very good job on picking diverse speakers from all over Africa and abroad (and they never disappoint).

If you want to watch some of the previous sessions you can do so here.

In addition to an inspiring talk and some industry insight you get breakfast and free coffee, so what are you waiting for? Start your Friday morning with a bit of networking.

Crowd: People working in the creative industry

Cost: It’s free but you have to register.

Location: Friends of Design


7. Rise Cape Town

Rise Cape Town is a Fintech Innovation Hub created by Barclays with a beautiful office space in the Woodstock Exchange. Their networking event series makes use of morning and lunch breaks to bring people together. Lunch & learn is a very smart concept that should be integrated much more often in shared office spaces, cooperates or small businesses.

Crowd: People working in Fintech

Cost: It’s free but you must register

Location: Woodstock Exchange


8. Future Females events

And last but not least the top female networking events hosted by Future females. The platform connects, inspires and supports existing and aspiring female entrepreneurs. Being part of the global movement the Cape Town branch is still a very young but with a bright future ahead. The events always cater to a certain theme and include a speaker element, which features some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs from each city.

So why not join the movement and take part in the next event.

Crowd: Strong and curious female entrepreneurs

Cost: Mostly free

Location: The locations are always changing, stay tuned here.


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