“More than Micro” Milestone 2: First Breakfast Seminar (July 2005)
Who doesn’t want to start their day with a good breakfast? Who doesn’t enjoy connecting with colleagues in the industry? Why not combine both?
In July of 2005, Microlinks launched a monthly seminar series, known as the Breakfast Seminar Series, to share good practices around competitiveness strategies for small firms. Shortly thereafter, Microlinks started the After Hours Seminar Series, which explored learning and innovations in microfinance and financial inclusion.
Before and after the seminars, participants filled the QED Group’s airy conference room with lively chatter. These seminars created opportunities for industry thought leaders to share and promote their latest good practices. Following each seminar, the Microlinks team captured and disseminated the discussed content through screencasts, blogs and videos. As CGAP’s Thom Sinclair observed, “The Microlinks Breakfast and After Hours Seminar Series brought the necessary in-person component to the virtual Microlinks space. The seminars were a vital piece in the knowledge cycle, allowing cutting-edge research to be disseminated and shared with large practitioner audiences.”
In 2008, the Microlinks team introduced a simultaneous webinar with the in-person event. This connected a global audience to the discussion. All of these efforts helped to cultivate an informal network for industry learning.
The seminar series helped to jump-start a cycle of learning for USAID and its partners. The Breakfast Seminar Series, in particular, broadened industry adoption, application and learning on value chain development. As the former USAID Activity Manager Jeanne Downing described it, this seminar series was “a really important way of learning from what others are doing, and sharing [USAID’s] thinking with a community of practice.”
Today, we continue to push the boundaries of our understanding in inclusive market systems development. The Microlinks Seminar Series encompasses a range of topics including market facilitation, digital financial services, economic recovery and private sector engagement. “I love that while the seminar series has evolved over the years with new topics and technologies to include a growing community, it maintains its original function as a means to create a learning loop and connect the community with each other and emerging evidence,” noted USAID Activity Manager, Kristin O’Planick.
Plug into the Microlinks Seminar Series to discuss projects, tools and case studies. Sign up for upcoming seminars here!
Next Up - Milestone 3: "Microenterprise Development in a Globalizing World"