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Calling all entrepreneurs

Dan Brady, professional development co-chairman, Rochester Young Professionals

With cranes in the air and backhoes in the dirt, Rochester’s downtown is in the midst of a massive transformation. The old is giving way to the new.

This is not lost on young professionals in the area. The momentum of downtown’s renaissance mirrors growth in local YP organizations—both in numbers and in scope.

Rochester Young Professionals is perhaps the most widely known such group. Dan Brady, co-chairman of RYP’s professional development committee, says YPs sense optimism about the future of business here and are settling into a role that supports the region’s growth. RYP’s upcoming Entrepreneurial Expo will showcase those businesses and give people a chance to exchange ideas and find tips for growing their own.

Brady says his peers are excited to build their careers and businesses in Rochester.

“They like being in Rochester, specifically the city, because of all that’s going on,” he says.

The expo will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Arbor Loft on Pitkin Street, right on the edge of the Inner Loop transformation. The first hour is networking to give vendors and attendees a chance to talk shop and mingle.

Presentations by young business owners will follow: Nicole Kazimer of Hello Yoga Girl and Chris Spinelli of Roc Brewery will talk about their successes and failures and how they have made connections to build their businesses.

Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York, based in Rochester, is sending staff members to talk about the financial literacy and business-building skills they teach middle-to-high-school students. They’ll also spell out volunteering opportunities.

For Rochester to embody a climate of economic renewal will require action from all demographics, young and old, Brady says. Expo organizers are eager to see business people at all stages of their careers at the event.

“It’s an exciting time,” Brady says. “We are actively trying to promote young professionals to get involved, but it definitely takes collaboration from people of all ages.”

Three dozen vendors from all sectors will attend. The setup is less about selling products than talking about what running a business is like, Brady says. Vendors include Evoke Foods, Aerix Drones, Feltro Fashion Italy, Inspired Wellness/Young Living Essential Oils, Electronic Merchant Systems, Optic Sky Productions and Impact Earth.

“It’s really about providing a platform for these entrepreneurs to talk about their experiences. … All entrepreneurs are consumed by their ideas, and I think they love sharing their stories,” Brady says.

Business builders will send experts who can answer questions, including High Technology Rochester, Bonadio Group and the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester.

Kiva Rochester also will be represented. The global program provides crowdfunded microloans with zero interest through the city of Rochester. Rochester Economic Development Corp. matches loan funds dollar-for-dollar for qualifying businesses.

“I think a lot of people aren’t aware of how encouraging municipalities can be to support businesses,” Brady says.

“There’s a lot of excitement for what’s going on. I think there’s a lot of opportunity,” he adds. “I hope people leave the event encouraged by all that’s going on.” r-y-p.org

11/11/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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