”Where can I meet new people in Oulu?” ”Where can I get to know the local community?”
These are questions that BusinessOulu advisor Viera Karam often hears as she meets international people at her work. Therefore she invited her colleague Anne Ryynänen to plan a networking event with her.
”The purpose is for Pure Networking provide the space to meet people and get in touch with the community. At the same time, participants hear what other people do and potentially find new prospects for work and business,” Karam says.
Tips for career goals
Jian Lee from South Korea came to Oulu to study three months ago. Previously she had travelled in Finland and fallen in love particularly with the local nature.
”I am currently studying marketing at the University of Oulu and would like to find a job in Finland after my studies,” Lee says.
The first evening of Pure Networking gathered around 30 participants. For the first 30 minutes, they were given questions by which they could get to know a stranger within five minutes – ”break the ice”, so to speak.
After the questions, the conversation continued freely until the very last minute at 8 p.m. Groups of several participants were created at some tables, while others conversed between two people. Both Finnish and foreign networkers were present.
Some participants were students like Jian Lee, but Pure Networking also attracted researchers, entrepreneurs, and other working people. Some were looking for support to establish a business, while others were there simply to spend some free time in the company of new people.
Relaxed atmosphere and interesting people
Originally from Seoul, Lee said that she had time to talk to five inspiring people during the evening.
”The atmosphere was really relaxed and there were a lot of interesting people present with very different backgrounds. I got some excellent tips from my discussion partners for realising my career goals, for example.”
”Open networking like this is particularly suitable for international students like me, but also for other people who might not know how to network in Oulu. Also, if you have a clear goal in mind, you can easily get practical help for it here. I will definitely come again,” Jian Lee states.
Corona has taken a toll on networking
Pietu Niinimäki manages an entrepreneurship programme for the Startup Refugees network that supports the employment of immigrants.
He came to check Pure Networking out on his own spare time, although he admitted that the event might be useful also in a professional sense.
”The corona period has taken a huge toll on networking and I am ashamed to say how little I have been able to visit such events,” Niinimäki said.
Belal Amin from Egypt was also there to network and meet new people – which has been difficult during the pandemic.
”A networking event is a good opportunity even for an introvert to get to know new people in Oulu.”
He came to Oulu to study in a Master’s degree programme. Now he works as a researcher. He thinks that the size of Oulu is perfect, and he has enjoyed his three years in the city so far.
”Oulu is not too big a city, but it is not countryside either. We have modern technology and beautiful nature, even though it gets a bit too cold in the winter.”