Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton was started in early 2019 with the vision of featuring creatives, side hustlers, students, and of course…young entrepreneurs in Edmonton. What sets us apart? We’re fresh, we’re hungry to learn and grow, and most importantly we believe in collaboration over competition. It’s created by young entrepreneurs for young entrepreneurs in Edmonton.

So, who’s behind it all?

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That’s me, Emily Vilcsak! I’m a 20-year-old, third year Communications student at MacEwan University. I stepped into the entrepreneurial game in 2013, when I founded my youth empowerment program called Mission I’mPossible. Since then I’ve spoken to dozens of schools, groups, and at conferences, like We Day Alberta in 2015. In 2017, I was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal. I’m passionate about making positives ripples in the lives of young people in our city in hopes of growing the next generation of Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton.

What makes this unique?

Whether you’re a long-time Edmontonian, new to the city, or a young entrepreneur yourself, this is a place to connect. You’ll learn some insider entrepreneurial tips from local people who have tried and failed, and how they found success. Unlike other organizations in the cities, I do not require entrepreneurs to pay an annual or ongoing fee to become a member. In my mind, I want to encourage free and open collaboration, and I don’t want a fee to inhibit that goal. This website offers a personal and collaborative community to highlight the ripples you’re making in our city and you’ll be connected to the right people through blog posts. If you’re an 18-30 year-old Edmontonian that is working on a side project or business, I want to hear about it. I’m looking to promote the incredible work of young people in our city and to have a space for people to share their stories along their entrepreneurial journey.

This photo was taken by local Edmonton photographer, Ian Keefe.

Let’s create a collaborative space.

Other organizations in Edmonton require members to prove that their company has a grossed more than $1 million a year. Wait a second. $1 million a year. The more I looked into it, I found that the average age of entrepreneurs in the organization was 44 years old. That is when I noticed a huge disconnect between growth and success in our city. There are plenty of entrepreneur-focused groups for people that have had financial success, but what about the rest of us? I have a large amount of respect for these successful entrepreneurs and I’m sure many of us would like to be in their shoes. The reality of the matter is, we’re not 44. Some of us are students or working to pay off student loans. Maybe all you have is an idea for a business you’d like to start but you’re not really sure how to get it off the ground. Maybe your side project is just starting to be profitable and you want to share it with the rest of the city. That’s where Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton comes in. From resources to features, you will be inspired and challenged by the content you find on this page. One of the challenges facing young entrepreneurs is the struggle to create brand awareness during a time when social media is over-saturated with paid ads and influencers that have already grown a social media presence. My vision is to create a space for Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton where they can grow their audience of local and like-minded people to hit their niche market without paying for ads.

Why is this important?

In a quickly changing and evolving city we have new developments and new challenges every single day. There are young, forward-thinking entrepreneurs that are looking at these problems and they are developing solutions to help community members. I want to grow the awareness of all the incredible projects that have been developed. When I said it’s a platform created by and for young entrepreneurs here in Edmonton I wasn’t kidding. Do you see the header image of this website? That photo was taken by the incredible Alexandra Marcu, a current MacEwan student and photographer! Check out her Instagram @alexandra.marcu. You can read about her experience on the blog next week!

Collaboration over competition

What does “collaboration over competition” mean? It is the tagline at the core of Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton for a very important reason. In our busy and fast-paced society, it is so easy to put our heads down and feel the stress of a constant grind. However, when we fall into these patterns we miss the opportunities and connections that are knocking on the door. Instead of encouraging each other, we end up competing. Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton focuses on the reality that another person’s success is not your failure. Through collaboration we can learn, grow and ask questions, all while building a professional network. Young Entrepreneurs in Edmonton creates a collaborative environment to encourage the work of young people in our city.

Would you like to be featured on the blog? Contact me for an interview.

This photo was taken by local Edmonton photographer, Alexandra Marcu.