MICRO Enhancing Competitiveness of Microentreprises in Rural Areas

Unit 2: Tools for building Networks


Unit 2: Tools for building Networks

networks, networking



This unit aims to provide a basic toolkit for a rural micro-enterprises who wish to set up a network

Course on Tools for building Networks


 Building Capacity in Rural Micro-Enterprises

Unit 2: Tools for building Networks

  What is a network?

Noun: A network is a group or system of interconnected people or things

Verb: Networking is the skill of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.

  What is a network?

Enterpreneurs that share common goals, and intentionally exchange information and/or engage collaboratively in activities to address those goals are networks.

May have other names:  collaborative groups, social circles, mentor groups, discussion groups, learning partnerships, etc.

You may be participating in a network without realising it - may be informal

  Types of Networks

Networks can range from loose informal exchanges to formal contractual or membership groups:


  Importance of networking

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE8AzBJy9uE 
7 minute You tube video 

  Characteristics of Networks

 General characteristics:

  • Created for a purpose
  • May be Informal and/or formal 
  • May have multiple functions
  • May exist locally, regionally, nationally or internationally
  • May be actual (face-2-face), virtual (online), or a combination
  • May be short term or long term

  Type of Network to setup

Joining a branch of existing Network

  • Quicker
  • Ready made template available
  • Support of other Network members available
  • May not fully address your capacity requirements
  • Less flexibility

  Type of Network to setup

Setting up a New Network

  • Slower
  • Need to design network from scratch
  • Need to seek out support from like-minded people
  • Can be tailor-made to your requirements
  • More flexibility

  Building a small business network

This video suggests steps in building a small business network
2 Minute video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox_NeZhy7OU 

  Setting up a Network

What form will it take? 
- Range from informal to formal

Vision and Mission Statement for Network:
- Lays down the aspirations and goals of the Network

Rules of Engagement for Network:
- Even informal group needs basic rules
- Members, fees, meetings, activities

  Format of Network

  • Depends on how formal the group is
  • Minimum - have a chairperson and secretary for leadership and record meetings
  • More formal groups need to address governance issues
  • Treasurer important if fees or fundraising involved

  Network Meeting Considerations


- Cost 
- Size required (how many members)
- Location (ease of access, distance)
- Option for virtual meetings?

- Focuses the meeting
- Consider having guest speakers

  Needs Assessment for Network

Research available Networks
- Include local/regional/national/international

Can existing network adapt/accommodate your needs?

What type of Network is missing?

Who in your area would be interested in joining this type of network?

  Downloadable e-book

Here is a simple down-loadable e-book from

On being a super connector

  Networking events

Take advantage of networking events such as this one provided- there will be one local to you

  Financing a Network


  • Meetings
  • Other events: Workshops, mentoring, guest speakers
  • Promotional activities: website, advertising
  • Running costs: Stationery, phone, wages


  • Membership fees: annual, per meeting
  • Fundraising events
  • Other sources?

  Benefits of Networks for Members

  1. Increased Access
  2. Increased Efficiency
  3. Multiplier Effect
  4. Solidarity and Support
  5. Increased Visibility
  6. Reduced Isolation
  7. Increased Credibility


At the end of this module you will be able to: - Know what a Network is - Know characteristics of different types of Networks - Know the basics of Setting up a Network


 Related material:
 Training Fiche PPT: