I have done a lot of business networking in the past while being active in the dating market. And I've discussed this topic with women as well. Most women will not respond well to being asked out at an event like this unless they are interested in getting to know you in that way too.
What I've observed is that men will often try to keep their agenda hidden and set up "networking meetings" with women they are otherwise interested in and then hope for the right moment to change the context. That's the situation I hear women complain about the most. I don't recommend doing that.
I have also tried simply asking women out directly after meeting them at these events, but that has never panned out for me. It seems like most women would prefer a different context for meeting men to date. The exception, of course, is if they are instantly attracted to you and the two of you have that kind of quick rapport. Very often men will confuse polite rapport as romantic interest. Unless there was very clear flirting happening, I began to learn that making a move while networking was actually a rather risky option. Keep in mind that many women at these events get a lot of unwanted attention so their guard is generally up already.
Finally, you have to be careful not to become known as "that guy" during networking events. I started to notice these types because they kept showing up to various events very obviously treating the event as a singles mixer and not as a business mixer. It becomes hard for people to take you seriously in business if you're displaying a "pick-up" vibe.
Bottom line, be careful to protect your business interests over your romantic ones. That being said, if you're getting flirtation signals (Use your skills!) then proceed with discretion and caution, but go for it. Keep it light and fun without putting anyone into an awkward social situation, and you should be fine.