A 20-year-old influencer is to host free online networking sessions for young people in a bid to raise their confidence, increase opportunities for personal growth and aid career progression.

Alexa Wilkinson, a Leeds-based lifestyle and beauty influencer has teamed up with online virtual networking firm Meeow to host ‘Late Nights with Lex’ for youngsters every Thursday between 7 and 8 pm.

Through the Meeow online networking platform, Lex will host live sessions inviting three people at a time to join her to talk about career progression, career options, life skills, confidence, and life in general.

The news comes on World Online Networking Day, a day when the world celebrates the phenomena which has taken the business world by storm throughout the pandemic.

In 2019, in-person networking was reported to be worth $14.3bn and whilst the financial loss caused by the pandemic bringing traditional networking to a complete halt is catastrophic, bigger issues are reported to be at hand.

New research by the Global Alliance in Management Education found that around three-quarters (72 per cent) of young people believe that not being able to physically network with colleagues would damage their long-term careers.

Recognising this, Lex approached Meeow founders Simon Glenn and Chris Rabbit to offer specialist networking sessions aka ‘meeows’ as a solution.

Lex said: “As an influencer with a young following, I’m very in tune with how young people are feeling and often get messages looking for support and advice. The pandemic has increased this demand and it was breaking my heart to see so many young people feeling fearful of the future.

“In my eyes, there’s not enough emphasis on networking at school and so when it’s time to leave and enter the big wide world, young people don’t realise its power. If they are aware of networking, they often feel scared and unsure of how to network, which puts them off trying it.

“Through the late night with Lex meeow sessions, I want to help build their confidence, connect them with others and open up opportunities for them in business.”

Chris Rabbit, co-founder of Meeow added: “It’s really important for us to invest in young people and their futures. The tie-up between Meeow and Alexa felt like a great way to take the Meeow way of networking to an audience we just wouldn’t have been able to access through our own networks.

“She is a wonderful and talented young woman and we’re excited to see what value our partnership will add to young people. Long may it continue!”

Through Meeow, founders Chris Rabbit and Simon Glenn bring four people together, at random, to talk about their businesses and create a virtual business community full of opportunities.

The entire concept behind the brand paves the way to a more sustainable, more accessible form of networking where costs remain low, carbon emissions are reduced, and those hard of hearing aren’t excluded.

Although currently operating on a beta platform, the new year will see Meeow launch as a bespoke designed and highly interactive video networking engine.

Lex’s meeow sessions are only one of the many opportunities Chris and Simon plan to create for people across the globe and will go live with a crowdfund campaign on 2 November to support their mission.