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VALLEY AND VENTURA COUNTY | VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP

Simi-Moorpark Businesses Form Networking Chapter

October 27, 1998|LEO SMITH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Real estate broker Kerry Berman is looking for assistance in building his clientele.

Toward this end, he is consulting with a banker, an accountant, a contractor, a dentist, a pediatrician, a florist and a plumber.

They are among 17 businesspeople who have founded the new Simi Valley-Moorpark branch of Business Network International, a San Dimas-based networking organization with more than 1,000 chapters in the United States and Europe.

The new branch, chartered last week, joins a Thousand Oaks chapter representing eastern Ventura County. Members of Business Network International and similar organizations, including the Leads Club and the Ventura County Professional Women's Network, share contacts and referrals to help strengthen member businesses.

"I have been in the chamber of commerce, I've been very active in the Jaycees and I have never been in a group that offers more return for your business than BNI," Berman said.

"Before we even chartered, during our first few meetings, I'd already gotten three very qualified referrals."

Like its sister chapters, the group is likely to grow to about 30 members, each representing a different profession and industry, Berman said. And all members will be counted on to pull their own weight.

"There's a lot of structure to our organization," Berman said. "Each of our members are accountable to be active. If you can't make a meeting, you need to send a representative so you're not counted absent. If you miss three meetings, you're out of the program."

Berman said the new networking chapter fits the needs of the Simi Valley-Moorpark business community.

"Simi Valley has a lot of technology, light manufacturing, quite a lot of retail stores, a lot of service-type companies," he said.

"If you're a member and you're a florist, there is a tremendous number of referrals you can get from the group."

The group meets at 7 a.m. Thursdays at Marie Callender's restaurant on Madera Road in Simi Valley. For more information, call 581-1932.

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