History

Over 35 Years of Innovation

See how we’ve grown from a handful of friends in California to an international network with over 270,000 members.

1984
November

An Idea Is Born

Dr. Ivan Misner is looking for ways in increase clients for his personal consulting business. He and friends Carolyn Denny, CPA, Lee Shimmin, insurance agent, and Mike Ryan, financial planner, created a plan.

1985
January

First official Meeting

The first official meeting of The Network was held by Dr. Ivan Misner and friends in January 1985 in Arcadia, California.

1985
March

The Network Expands to Two Chapters

By the end of the first year, 20 chapters were spread across Southern California.

1989
December

The Board of Advisors Is Established

The Board of Advisors, made up of members from well-performing regions throughout BNI, had been established. This group has since reviewed or written every BNI policy that impacts the member experience.

1990
December

The Network Is Renamed Business Network

In 1991, Dr. Misner could see the organization was close to launching internationally, and to prepare for the change, rebranded The Network as Business Network International, and shortly after focusing the name as BNI for simplicity and trademark purposes.

1993
December

BNI Opens Internationally

Canada opened BNI’s first chapters outside the United States in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

1995
December

BNI Opens in Europe

BNI opens in the first country across the Atlantic Ocean, the United Kingdom, after an Executive Director in Canada, Steve Lawson, encourages his brother, Martin Lawson in the U.K., to launch BNI in his town

1996
December

BNI Opens in Australia and New Zealand

A member from Canada moved to Australia in 1997 and worked with local groups to open BNI. A year later, a BNI member from the UK emigrated to New Zealand and the rest is history.

1997
December

BNI Opens in Africa

After a visit to BNI in the U.K., Mike Levin decides to open in South Africa in 1998

1998
January

The BNI-Misner Charitable Foundation is Established

Now known as the BNI Foundation, the charitable arm of the organization was established to allow directors and members to repay the community they live in.

2003
December

Headquarters Moves to Upland, California

The support team outgrew their office in Claremont and relocated to Upland, securing room for all departments and the growing warehouse and shipping team.

2011
January

BNI Connect® Launches

BNI Connect®, an online platform for members, launches to allow referrals, revenue generated by our members, and visitors to be easily tracked.

2014
November

Graham Weihmiller Announced as New CEO

Graham Weihmiller joins the BNI Family as the new CEO in December 2014, ushering in a new era in BNI.

2015
May

Global Headquarters Relocates to Charlotte,

To better support the growing international audience and to open the door for additional talent on the team, the Global Support Team relocates the BNI Headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina.

2016
February

Official International Support Office in

With a booming international market, an International Support Office is opened by the Irish Prime Minister in Castlebar, Ireland.

2016
April

Total Global Membership Tops 200,000

Global membership of BNI passes 200,000 on May 20, 2016, with 7,486 chapters in 65 countries.

2016
August

Support Office Opens in Bangalore, India

As a country gaining momentum in BNI, with 100+ member chapters launching and growing, the Global Support Team opens a satellite office in India.

2020
March

BNI Launches BNI Online

BNI adapts and launches BNI Online in only a few weeks. The new online meeting space is adopted all over the world.

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