History

Over 30 Years of Innovation

See how we’ve grown from a handful of friends in California to an international network with over 220,000 members.

  • 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, hatched a plan.

  • First Official Meeting

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

  • The Network Expands to Two Chapters

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

  • 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.

  • BNI Moves Offices

    Previously headquartered in Dr. Misner’s home in La Verne, California, BNI relocates to an office in Claremont, California, to compensate for the increased number of staff members needed to support the growing organization.

  • The Network Is Renamed Business Network International

    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.

  • BNI Opens Internationally

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • BNI Opens in Africa

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Global Headquarters Relocates to Charlotte, North Carolina

    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.

  • Official International Support Office in Castlebar, Ireland

    With a booming international market, an International Support Office is opened in Castlebar, Ireland.

  • Total Global Membership Tops 200,000

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

  • 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.