A high tech social club has a monthly meeting in Prince George just to socialize and talk shop over beverages instead of board tables.
Dozens of those in the tech industry in Prince George have dialed in for this chat session, and support agencies like the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, Community Futures and others have sent their own people along to extend their support.
The StartupDrinksPG social group was not invented by Will Cadell and Shauna Harper - both local entrepreneurs in the tech sector - to get away from the travails of work. They conceived it to get more work done, better, by having a casual engagement with their peers.
"It goes off into all sorts of different things, we'll talk about last night's hockey scores, sure, but it is relatively focused," said Cadell of Sparkgeo, a mapping and data organization company. "We organize to meet up at Nancy O's for I guess its a networking event but it's an excuse to talk together about all the things we bore our spouses with usually. They are always willing to share war stories, whether it worked out well or badly. All these conversations are valuable."
Some of the people at the table might even be competitors but Cadell said the nature of tech-work is that it can be done in Prince George for clients all over the region and even the globe.
One of the biggest success stories in local tech business is Garth Frizzell's Terra Cognita Software Systems company. As a veteran of the local computer/telecommunications/data management sector, he agreed that competitors can also be allies or even potential partners.
"They say its lonely at the top, and that usually refers to giant corporations, but it really applies to small business owners who are so totally focused on their business project and trying to make sure your family sees you as well. You need to touch base with others who can speak your language," said Frizzell.
"That's what Shauna and Will have their finger on, and it is hugely important," he added. "And by hosting it in a local up-and-coming restaurant, they are helping to stimulate the economy in other little ways too. You have to make it valuable, because as a small business owner you need a real reason to be there if you're not working on your business or spending what time is left with your family."
The group is usually 15 or 20 people per event, said Cadell. "Every month we get a couple of new people. There is so much happening in this space, this community, right now."
The next StartupDrinksPG meeting is 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 at Nancy O's. They are always on the last Tuesday of every month.