The new-to-industry finance broker, Edwena Dixon tried to network, but to no avail. And there were a number of problems. In her experience, non-industry specific networking groups were ineffective and industry-specific initiatives were often just “old boys’ clubs, or closed shops for newer professionals,” she told Dynamic Business.
“This makes it extremely hard for new entrants to gain a foothold in the industry…and as a result the industry was losing some of its most promising new entrants simply because they found it too hard to get through the first few years.”
A familiar starting point for most entrepreneurs, Edwena thought there had to be a better way. Seeing an opportunity for a ‘younger and new-to-industry’ specific networking event, she said “the idea of integrating technology into the heart of the networking experience seemed natural, given how tech savvy the new generation of finance professionals are.”
For Edwena, already founder and principal of Pinpoint Finance, entrepreneurial initiative was nothing new. Adding another layer to her existing business, Edwena launched her professional matchmaking app and networking initiative, N3 – which she describes as the “Tinder for finance professionals.”
N3 is a digital platform designed to help young brokers, accountants and financial planners collaborate and develop relationships. It comes hand-in-hand with a series of networking events supported by the app, the first of which will be held in Melbourne on November 17th. How will it work in practice? Simply, as Edwena says, like Tinder; giving event participants the ability to search the room via the app for their ideal networking partners based on industry, area, experience and more.
“Gone are the days of ‘networking roulette’ where countless hours would be lost at networking events striking up random conversation after random conversation in the hope that you’d eventually strike it lucky,” said Edwena.
So why is networking so important to finance professionals particularly?
Edwena said “if you’re an accountant or financial planner and you advise your clients to refinance, or to expand their investment portfolio, then the next question they are going to ask is ‘do you know a good broker?’
“The finance industry as a whole is a ‘trust’ based industry, and clients will be much more likely to trust a recommendation than they are to trust an advertisement.
And with the hunger for N3’s offering prevalent across the industry, the inaugural event has gained sponsorship from two major banks and will be supported by peak bodies including the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) and the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA).
“To have two major banks as sponsors and two different industry bodies on board recognising N3 with CPD points is an amazing achievement for a networking initiative that has yet to host its first event!”
Despite the road blocks that once stood, things appear to be finally moving forward for finance professionals; the younger ones especially. Edwena said the support received from younger industry professionals has been overwhelming as many were aware of the need for something better.
But why stop here. Describing N3 as as a “proof-of-concept,” Edwena is hoping to expand the concept to revolutionise the networking landscape across a range of other industries in the future. Watch this space!