The Harvest Networking Group began four years ago within the Harvest community in Argyle. In 2022, the handful of founding members has morphed into an impressive 450.
“Our goal has always been business networking,” Elizabeth Hamilton, one of the three group leaders, explained. “We’re unique because we’re structured like a business ‘think tank.’ We’re extremely open and willing to discuss whatever issues your business may be facing. We want to present teachable moments for basic concerns, such as ways to save on your electric bill.”
Even people who do not live in Harvest are invited to participate in the group, which offers a combination of community, business networking, and personal friendship development. The group also chooses a local charity to support.
“It’s very uplifting,” Elizabeth commented. “Every Thursday at 9:00 a.m. there is an in-person meeting. The difference between being face-to-face as opposed to Zoom, which we did during COVID, is like day and night.
“We’ve watched a significant number of successful start-ups come out of the group. We’ve also witnessed shy, introverted people gain confidence by simply introducing themselves and revealing some of their backgrounds. That’s one of the best parts…. seeing that differences are truly being made in peoples’ lives.”
While Harvest Networking is a community, it is not sponsored by Harvest. They provide their own advertising, maintain their own Facebook page, and create their own events.
“We encourage surrounding communities to join us for our special events,” Elizabeth said. “We have several dimensions, and among them are learning, helping, and encouraging. We’re very communal and make it a point to listen to everyone’s input. Nothing is ever too trivial for our attention if you need help or have questions about your business.”
There are many people who work from home and have their own businesses, but being a business proprietor/owner is not a requisite for membership. “We also have members who are employed by local businesses,” Elizabeth explained. “They’re more than welcome to attend and to put their questions and concerns on the table.
“One of the most gratifying aspects of our group is that we never have holes that can’t be filled. Someone always steps forward if we need food or drinks or anything else for our meetings. It’s a rewarding group of personalities, truly dedicated to helping and advancing the best interests of everyone in the group. It’s an intentional act of commitment to get up earlier on Thursday morning to attend a meeting before work. The same thing applies to attending a special evening event.”
Another admirable characteristic of Harvest Networking is people are genuinely excited about sharing advice and guidelines. It’s an integral part of the overall goal of educating for business success since business success is the foundation of community success.
The members are cognizant of the extensive and supportive relationship between thriving businesses and correspondingly thriving communities. This includes a healthy and progressive school system, resident services, libraries, community centers, resources for senior citizens, parks, fire, police, and more. The more successful the business sector of the community, the more successful the community.
“It’s exciting because we know we make a difference in the present that will continue into the future,” Elizabeth said. “One of the most satisfying results of our efforts is when the owner of a start-up that came from our group calls and says, ‘I can’t make it to the meeting tomorrow. Everything is going so well with the business and my schedule is just too tight to be away.’”
That’s fantastic because the caller just defined Harvest Networking’s success while reinforcing the group’s motto of empower, grow, and educate.