Spartanburg’s after-hours networking event, the literally named Business After Hours, is getting rebooted and rebranded.
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 12, the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce will host its first installment of The Exchange at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium at 385 N. Church St. beside Wofford College. This week’s Exchange will run from 5 to 7 p.m.
Megan Collins, membership and events coordinator for the Spartanburg Chamber, said The Exchange will be “an experience,” built on three innovative concepts that include The Idea Lounge, The Resource Hub, and Build Better Relationships, Collins said.
The concepts are aimed at attracting both greater and new participation, and providing local businesses with comprehensive solutions to help them grow.
And instead of being open only to the chamber’s members, The Exchange will be open to the public.
“This isn’t going to be merely people talking and giving each other their business cards,” Collins said. “It’s designed to give people a quality experience, where they are making meaningful connections, learning, and, at the same time, having a lot of fun.”
Collins said the chamber began planning the shake up of its Business After Hours program earlier this year. She said it is “absolutely” designed to increase engagement from young professionals in Spartanburg.
“We just felt [Business After Hours] had grown a little stale,” said Will Rothschild, vice president of strategic communications for the Spartanburg Chamber. “Meg has really done a great job leading this effort. We’re excited about it.”
The Idea Lounge will be a place where business owners and professionals can interact with “marketing gurus” to receive advice, brainstorm, and gain insight into “all things digital marketing,” according to the chamber’s website.
For the inaugural event, The Idea Lounge will be presented by Berbank Events and supported by Arrowhead Design Co., Infinity Marketing, Launch Something, MoreView Media, The Palladian Group, and Slant Media.
The Resource Hub, according to Collins, will be a business expo redefined. Instead of having traditional exhibition booths, The Exchange will feature business resource tables.
Participants will be able to choose what materials are displayed on their table, and then move around and interact with other professionals.
Traditional nametags with a participant’s name and title of the entity they represent will be coupled with a description of what their company or organization does, Collins said.
Build Better Relationships is a little more theoretical, but is the gist of The Exchange.
“It can be really difficult to walk up to someone you don’t know and start talking yourself or your company,” Collins said. “We think [The Exchange] will help people build more meaningful, lasting relationships that will benefit them more in the long run.”
Admission is $10 for chamber members and $20 for non-members.
Collins said the chamber hopes to attract 150 participants. She said 80 people had already registered as of Wednesday, Sept. 6.
There will be 25 Business Resource Tables available. The tables, which will be provided, are standard, skirted cocktail tables that are 36 inches in diameter.
Table pricing is $75 for a single event, $125 for two events, $250 for four events, and $375 for six events. One complimentary ticket will be included with the price of each table.
Founders Federal Credit Union will present the first event.
Host sponsorships are $1,000 and include company logo placement on 4,000 event notifications; more than 30,000 email event invitations; recognition in all event marketing; recognition before and throughout each event; a dedicated business promotional table in a prominent location at the event; four complimentary tickets; and a mailing list of attendees.