Living in Vancouver for the past 5 years, I’ve had the opportunity to explore this city’s amazing creative community. Vancouver doesn’t have a wild and crazy bar scene, and people can sometimes seem a bit shy and cliquey at first, but if you take the time to find the right events you’ll discover the incredibly friendly and diverse scene of entrepreneurs, artists and creative people that call the west coast home.
I work in the digital media industry and I’ve had a few jobs that required getting out and drumming up new business relationships. I’ve found that attending events, networking mixers and conferences is the best way to not only establish new business relationships but also make new friends.
If you’re looking to meet other interesting entrepreneurs, freelancers and creative professionals, here are some of the best Vancouver events that I’ve discovered.
Creative Mornings – Held monthly in the basement at the W2 Media Arts Centre in Gastown. Local artists, advertising executives and digital media creatives talk about their passion and what makes them creative. Set yourself a reminder for the ticket releases on EventBrite because they are usually scooped up in a few minutes.
Pecha Kucha Vancouver – Pecha Kucha (prounouncd peh ‘chak cha) is a global event that started in Tokyo and is now held in over 300 cities around the world. Local entrepreneurs, educators, artists and innovators give simple presentations. The format is fast and highly engaging with each presenter limited to exactly 20 slides with only 20 seconds spent on each slide. That makes 6 minutes and 4o seconds of pure glory. Tickets sell out fast.
The Social Feed – Weekly dinner parties for young, creative professionals. They usually have 20-40 people sitting at a long table so everyone can meet each other. Come alone and make new friends. The photo at the top is from a Social Feed at the Irish Heather.
Fuse – Four times a year, the Vancouver Art Gallery transforms itself into a surrealist mix of art, music and live performance. Fuse is a great place to meet new people in a casual environment surrounded by incredible art. Next event is Friday, February 24th, 2012.
Limemind – Meet interesting people in Vancouver’s creative community in a relaxed environment over coffee. Happens early, around 8 a.m.
Organizations Holding Events:
DigiBC – The Digital Media and Wireless Industry Association of BC holds regular workshops and networking mixers.
BCAMA – The BC Chapter of the American Marketing Association is the largest networking group for Marketers in Vancouver. They regular hold breakfast series, networking mixers, workshops, conferences and the Marketer of the Year event.
IABC – The British Columbia chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators has over 600 members in Vancouver. They regularly hold career building events, networking mixers and a bi-weekly Toastmasters meeting at The Network Hub in Gastown (which I highly recommend).
The Network Hub – The largest and most established of the co-working spaces serving local entrepreneurs and startups. Minna Van, who runs the Network Hub is very helpful and she knows just about everyone in the local scene.
The Hive - This Gastown co-working space regularly holds meetups for startup folks, entrepreneurs and changemakers.
The Office – An up-and-coming co-working space for freelancers also in Gastown.
Lean Startup Vancouver – A monthly meetup series for people interested in building startups and agile businesses using the Lean Startup methodology popularized by Eric Ries.
Net Tuesday Vancouver – Social media and web innovators come together with social change makers to network, swap stories and ideas, and build new relationships.
Vancouver Entrepreneur Meetup – This regular event held by co-working space The Network Hub is always packed with bright young entrepreneurs. Probably the best entrepreneur meetup in the city.
Vancouver Young Professionals – Young urban professionals passionate about networking, growing business and meeting new people in Vancouver.
Startup Drinks – Hosted monthly at Relish by the Bootup Entrepreneurial Society. Lots of interesting people from the Vancouver web startup scene.
Annual Events & Conferences:
TEDxVancouver – The biggest annual TEDx event held in the Lower Mainland.
GROW – The largest technology and venture capital event of the summer. Top venture capitalists from the Bay Area descend on Vancouver to find new technology start-ups to invest in. Held each year in August.
GLOBE – An international conference dedicated to the business of the environment and sustainability. March 14th-16th, 2012 at the Vancouver Conference Centre.
SocialComNet 2012 – The International Workshop on Social Computing, Network, and Services is being held from June 26th-28th, 2012. Learn all about the semantic web, artificial intelligence, data mining and the evolution of social computing.
CreativeMix – An annual professional development conference for both emerging and established creative professionals, entrepreneurs and artists of all kinds, bringing everyone together in an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration.
InterLink Conference – A conference for web design professionals of all types. Exploring the intersection of web design, code, and content during 2 days of curated talks and workshops at UBC Robson Square.
So, as you can see there is a lot going on in this city! If you find this post useful please share it with your friends. You may also want to read another post I did called Vancouver: Creative City and Innovation Guide.