‘Young’ businessmen form network for new companies

There’s no shortage of options for local business people seeking to network with others.

There’s no shortage of options for local business people seeking to network with others.

But none of those clubs and organizations were quite what Mike Szyszka and Tyler Bowman were looking for. The co-owners of REaction Marketing and Sign A Rama wanted a group reflective of their own youthful ages: 24 in the case of Szyszka and 27 for Bowman.

“We just found that a lot of the events and the lunches and things like that aren’t geared toward someone who’s just starting up a new business or is a young person,” said Szyszka.

He and Bowman began kicking around the idea of starting a new organization better suited to the needs of young professionals and entrepreneurs like them.

Several months later, “engage” (Entrepreneurial Networking Group. Achieve. Grow. Engage.) has resulted.

The fledgling club will hold its inaugural event this Wednesday evening at Paradise Indoor Golf and Recreation in Red Deer.

“We’re going to be getting some feedback from people who come to the first event and see what they want to see at future events,” said Szyszka.

A board has already been formed, with Szyszka and Bowman president and vice-president respectively.

They’ve been joined by Chad Knudson of Servus Credit Union, Karen Mann of the City of Red Deer, Lindsey Hutton of the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce, and Meghan Gustum, also of REaction Marketing.

Szyszka said engage is targeting members aged 18 to 35, but will welcome older people as well.

“We’re setting up sort of a mentoring type of program, so you (older individuals) would join as a more experienced member to maybe help out some of the younger people.”

In addition to networking, engage’s mandate will include helping members develop by hearing speakers and attending courses, he said.

It will likely also support local service groups and non-profit organizations.

Szyszka expects that the group will organize at least one networking event a month, likely evening gatherings at businesses owned by its members. A series of lunchtime speakers is also a strong possibility, he said.

“What the group will become will be dictated very much by those in the group.”

If all goes well, engage might become an option for young professionals and entrepreneurs in other cities, suggested Szyszka.

“We’re hoping it will take up and one day we’ll see an engage Edmonton and an engage Calgary, and who knows where it will end.”

This Wednesday’s event will run from 7 to 10 p.m., with activities like indoor golf and Xbox to be offered. There is no cost to attend.

Paradise Indoor Golf and Recreation is located at No. 150, 6900 Taylor Dr.

Additional information about engage can be found on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/engagealberta. A website is also being constructed at www.engagealberta.ca.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com