Business relationships are not all that different from romantic ones in many ways, which is why the concept behind MatchFounders is so intriguing. The same can be said, in fact, of Spain's ESADE Business School, which now holds “speed dating”-style events with the aim of matching MBA students with real-world projects.
Launched last year, ESADE's Innovation Speed Dating program is a joint initiative between the school's Entrepreneurship Institute and
Career Services department that's designed to help full-time MBA
students studying entrepreneurship find innovative projects to
participate in. At the program's inaugural event, 100 or so MBA students
were paired with representatives of 27 local business ideas ranging
from self-heating smart fabrics designed for health-care applications to
a new mobile phone application that lets users find the nearest taxi.
Students were given information on each project ahead of time, allowing
them to plan who they were most interested in meeting. Then, following
the traditional speed dating format, participants at the event underwent
a series of brief face-to-face encounters that let everyone meet and
get to know each other. Those who seemed to “click” could then further
the relationship afterwards, potentially leading to the launch of a new
Turns out speed dating is also being applied to business at competing Spanish B-school EADA, which has held similar events for executives and headhunters as well as for alumni networking, according to a report on ElPais.com. Clearly, the idea has merit, and is worth considering if you're in education, recruiting or HR. (Related: Applying the speed dating model to roommates — Mixers for babysitters and moms.)