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North Oakville business forum comes up with first networking event

The upcoming event in May will offer local businesses networking and mentorship opportunities.

The much-anticipated North Oakville business forum is gaining momentum, with the organizers planning the first networking event in May.

Considering Ward 7's businesses often complain of inadequate attention, this initiative by the residents' association creates a buzz among business owners. Nav Nanda, regional and town councillor of Ward 7, had discussed the creation of the business forum in a town hall meeting in early February.

"Unlike the other business improvement associations in the town, the upcoming forum will be run by us though we will have collaborations with the town," North Oakville Ward 7 Residents' Association (NOW7) 's board member, Dr. Jimmy Nanda, shared with Oakville News.

The association hopes to have its first networking event on a weekday evening in a local community centre so roughly 40 local businesses can join.

"Keeping in mind that we have a lot of home-based businesses in our area which came up during the pandemic, this event will be their opportunity to be visible and reach out to the community," Dr. Nanda pointed out. He added that each business can join for free and have a table to promote their products/services. Stakeholders, business owners and all community members are invited to this event focusing on hyper-local community connections.

NOW7 website is undergoing reconstruction, which will soon have a business section listing the local businesses. Once kicked off in person, the forum will have a networking event once every quarter, with opportunities for mentorship and resource support on the fundamentals of business development and challenges faced.

According to Dr. Nanda, local financial institutions and business coaches have expressed interest in sharing their insights with budding businesses.

"I have the typical immigrant story, with my family moving here in 1996 and struggling to get a foothold. Thankfully, we managed to overcome those days of hardship, and I'm now in a position where I can give back to the people looking for guidance, mentorship or connections," said Ahmed Rizvi, a finance professional from North Oakville, joining the forum as a mentor.

Having built a financial practice from scratch, Rizvi hopes to help the residents with his business development expertise and beyond. "Since North Oakville is relatively new, the forum will also be an opportunity to know our neighbours and support each other. At the grassroots level, four or five years from now, we'll have a strong impact on building community connections."