I randomly stumbled upon their event on Instagram as it was suggested to me on my feed. Upon searching a bit more on the event I found out it was organized for over a year in Paris and it was their first edition in Brussels.
About the organizer
This African networking event is organized by both Aperaf and Afropreneur Belgium and it is a concept that has been held multiple times in Paris . the goal with this event is to provide :
- A meeting of the Afro Caribbean diaspora and all over people in love with Africa to network, exchange and share.
- The discovery of an African restaurant in the city that welcomes the event for this aperitif (dinner) African.
- A special Apéraf card to taste the best products of the restaurant at affordable prices. It contains tasty African dishes in the form of tapas as well as delicious African sauces, beers and cocktails.
The networking event went as follow:
The event was held in « Café Béguin », a restaurant and coffee shop that serves African and Caribbean food in a very colorful decoration with a live band. We were welcomed in the 1st floor that was fully made private for the event and a DJ was playing nice African lounge tunes that were setting the mood. I paid 25 EUROS and it was « supposed » to include a dinner plate and a drink. It was so not worth the price. At all.You’ll understand while reading my review 🙂
The venue is beautifully decorated and the organizers put high tables with no chairs to force people to talk, glad to say it worked 😀 A bar was made available for attendees and a menu with pre-defined drinks and prices was shared. And due to technical issues only cash was accepted at the event to buy drinks.
The event process
It started at 7pm and I was honestly surprised to see that many people were on time. As I arrived, I was asked to fill-in a small presentation « badge » that displayed my name, project (If I had any) and some keywords about me. Afterwards, the organizer took the individual badges and put them in a big plate (Very original and i liked it a lot 😀 ) as we waited for people to come in.
At 8pm, the organizers kick-off the event with a presentation and they gave a bit of an overview of who they are and what they do in Paris vs now in Brussels with this first edition, then they explained how the evening would go:
- People are asked to introduce themselves to anybody around and encouraged to bond over drinks or food or any subject
- The organizers randomly gave a badge to each attendee and asked them to look for the person who wrote the badge and start the conversation
- An after-party in a popular Brussels nightclub was planned for the interested ones
I actually liked the networking idea as you are kinda forced to ask random people if they were the one you are looking for, if not you can still talk to them and get to know people and their project or current job. Funny enough, I met a colleague from another country there 😀
The projects and subjects discussed were very diverse as there was a couple managing an online beauty platform, a real estate agent, a trader, an auditor… I met very interesting people and got to exchange contact information 🙂
The big fail of this event was the food as it was not worth the 25 euros paid and most attendees were quietly complaining about it. Judge by yourself people as I took a picture to show the quantity. We could only choose of 3 dishes in the menu even if it was displayed as a buffet selection where you were only served once 🙂
I would advice the organizers either to have the food plates served on the table to people directly or to provide a buffet and let people enjoy the food freely while they are networking.
All in all, The event was really interesting for a young professional like me as we do not have enough occasions to meet like-minded people though I strongly advice the organizers to review the price as it was not worth it. We do need more events like that in Brussels, so do not hesitate to make it a monthly occurrence 😀
Her are some useful links:
- The facebook page of the organizers « Afropreneur Network »: https://www.facebook.com/AfropreneurNetwork/
- The facebook page of the organizers « Apéraf »: https://www.facebook.com/laperaf
The pictures used in this article belong to their rightful owners.