I had the opportunity to attend the most recent eSAX. This event is The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience. What does this mean? Their website describes it best: “eSAX events are large entrepreneur networking extravaganzas. Held every 3 months, they promote small business and collaboration among regional Chambers of Commerce in Ottawa. Attendees get the opportunity to learn from event speakers, speak with industry leaders, win some great prizes, and much more.” Essentially, these events are a fun night out, including networking and meeting community leaders. eSAX is the brainchild of Jarrod Goldsmith. He created eSAX to bridge the gap between Chambers of Commerce and new business owners. You can read more of his impressive bio at http://esax.ca/about/
I’ll start with the atmosphere. eSAX feels like a ritzy event from the moment you arrive. You walk down a long yellow/black carpet to a table with a friendly staff member, who helps you to get registered and directs you to another staff member who helps you to find your name tag lanyard and gives you a bag of goodies. The bar is almost immediately to your left once you walk in, and they serve a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including their signature drink, the Sax on the Beach. High top tables are set up, and loaded with candy, where attendees mingle, eat and drink until the speakers begin. On the menu is a variety of wraps from the Pita Pit, with an option of gluten free/vegan, which I loved, with cookies for dessert.
In the main body of the room, there is a series of tables set up, with various small businesses advertising and networking with attendees and one another. It’s an intelligent setup that really facilitates interaction.
eSAX always has a great lineup of speakers, and this event was no exception. The speaking began with an introduction from Dylan Black, MC/Host. I know Black only from hearing his voice on the radio, on boom 99.7. I’ve always enjoyed his comedic style on the air, and seeing/hearing him in person was just as great. Despite speaking to a ‘quiet-ish’ crowd, Black was incredibly entertaining. Even more impressive than his MC’ing skills, was hearing about what he is involved within our community. A major supporter of CHEO, the Children’s Wish Foundation, the Max Keeping Fund, and blood donation, Black encourages and inspires others to make a difference in our community as well. He’s also a follower of Covert Ottawa Guy on twitter, which is pretty cool for me!
The featured speaker of the evening was the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The speaker provided an outline of what the COC has to offer entrepreneurs, and highlighted some incentive programs and benefits that the Chamber can offer. It was a very informative speech, and I heard multiple people comment that they had picked up some useful tips that they hadn’t known about.
Also on the agenda was the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, but that speaker was unable to make it. This allowed for Dylan Black to get back to the podium, and he kept the audience laughing and the evening running smoothly until Jarrod came up to speak.
Jarrod, known for his signature fedora, is a great speaker, and really lights up a room. He spoke to the audience about the misconceptions about networking, and about how networking shouldn’t be an awkward and uncomfortable process. It was a really great topic, and certainly changed my own perspective on networking for the better. It was a really positive and inspirational talk; he kept the audience’s attention and shared some valuable experiences and information.
Next up, there were a number of draws for door prizes. Attendees had to be present to win, and I saw a lot of excited people head up to the stage to claim their prizes. All that one had to do to enter was to drop a business card in a barrel on their way into the event, which I think is a nice change from typical raffle style prizes. Once the door prizes had been awarded, there was another exciting draw: The ACER Cold War Museum Fighter Jet Charity Draw was a highlight of the evening for me. I REALLY hoped that I would win this prize, but unfortunately, I didn’t. The prize was a ride in a real fighter jet. Just listening to the description of the ride prompted me to purchase multiple tickets. ACER is a non-profit organization, and the proceeds from the eSAX draw went to charity, which I think is amazing. You can check out their website here if you are interested in booking this flight of a lifetime opportunity for yourself: https://acmadventures.com. It sounds like a great adventure for a great cause! Topping off the prize draws was the draw for the 50/50. The pot wasn’t massive, but the proceeds went to support a few very worthwhile charities-always a bonus!
After the door prizes and draws had wrapped up, there was about an hour of mingling. Jarrod was in the crowd, ever the engaging host, saying farewell to attendees, ensuring that everyone had a great time. This eSAX was the best yet; this event just gets better and better with every one! If you are an entrepreneur, it’s a great way to network with other entrepreneurs and small business owners.
If you’re looking at doing some networking and meeting some great members of the community, I would highly recommend checking eSAX out. You can find details of the next event, including ticket information, on their website at http://esax.ca/. Tell them that Covert Ottawa Guy sent you!