Emboldia bringing marketing, design firm founders to Manchester

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MANCHESTER — Why should area professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs attend Emboldia at the Wilburton Inn next Tuesday night?

Mark Puryear, who founded the Burlington-area professional networking entity that will be holding its first Northshire event at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 offered several reasons.

"You're going to meet new people. You're going to have an opportunity to let everyone in the room know what you have going on," Puryear said Monday. "Whether it's an elevator pitch or you're looking for a collaborator, a job, an employee or an investor, this is a big opportunity to meet those people and hear from two big-time speakers."

The speakers, Burlington marketing executive Issa Sawabini, the owner of Fuse LLC, and Michael Jager, the founder and chief creative officer at Solidarity of Unbridled Labour (formerly JDK Design) in Burlington, will take part in a discussion moderated by Joy Proft, the owner of "JOY all things underthings." They will discuss "The Power of Entrepreneurial Communities and Being Engaged with Generation Y and Millennials."

Questions and answers will follow, as well as "shameless plugs," a two minute-per-person opportunity for attendees to share business concepts and investment opportunities, seek collaboration or engage with potential employees and employers.

The event is free, but attendees are asked to register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/emboldia-in-the-northshire-tickets-36472359810.

Sawabini, the co-owner and founder of Fuse, oversees all client services and specializes in the development and execution of clients' youth-targeted marketing strategies. In the past 18 years, he has worked developed successful marketing strategies for brands including Mountain Dew, Nike, Gatorade, Converse, HTC, Amazon, Kraft, Harley-Davidson, Yahoo, Harvard Business School, Burton Snowboards, Discover Card and MasterCraft.

Jager is the creative director at Solidarity of Unbridled Labour, which emerged as the new incarnation of JDK Design in 2014. His collaborative output includes Burton Snowboards, Microsoft's Xbox, Nike, Levi's, Phish, MTV, Virgin, Lululemon, Yara, Seventh Generation, and Patagonia.

Puryear said Proft was a natural choice to lead the discussion. "Joy's an entrepreneur, she's savvy, I thought she'd be great as a moderator," he said.

Proft said Puryear approached her about the opportunity about two months ago. "I'm really looking forward to moderating the discussion," she said.

Proft is excited to be heading a discussion with Sawabini and Jager. "They run very popular and successful companies," she said.

"I'm always excited to talk business and talk opportunities, and talk about how to get from Point A to Point B," Proft said. "My business is four years old and I've come to a tier ... but to get to the next level, not just staying in business but growing, how do I find opportunities, how do I maximize opportunities?"

Specifically, Proft is interested in "entrepreneurial communities" and what that principle could do for the region.

"In bigger cities where tech companies do business, that term that is used to network and help gain traction on new ideas and new businesses," Proft said. "One of the things I want to bring to the table in Southern Vermont is can we apply these entrepreneurial community methods to what we do and what are are strong at here?"

Puryear grew Emboldia out of in interest in connecting the state's high-tech industry with entrepreneurs and investors, many of whom spend vacations here as visitors or second home owners, and growing Vermont's high-tech sector.

"I figured that if I could expose out-of state-entrepreneurs and investors to Vermont it would be beneficial, not just for our ecosystem but also to the entrepreneurs and/or investors," Puryear said. "These people come up to ski and relax and that's it. They don't know there are people here building wealth and making an impact on their specific industry or space."

While Emboldia has focused on high tech, Tuesday's program is intended to reflect Manchester's current economic situation, and the ongoing discussion of how it should position and market itself moving forward.

"I know Manchester is in a transformation stage, that it's figuring out what it's going to do for the next 30 years," Puryear said. "Bringing [Sawabini and Jager] hits it right on the nail."

Puryear is familiar with Manchester and the Wilburton Inn, having brought TedX and Road Pitch here in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Both events brought out area residents who were interested in innovative and creative ideas, he said, and that's what he's hoping will happen next Tuesday.

Cairn Cross, the founder of Fresh Tracks Capital, and Road Pitch, and Jeff Couture, the executive director of the Vermont Technology Alliance, are expected to attend, Puryear said.

Reach Journal editor Greg Sukiennik at 802-490-6000.


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