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Startup reaches out to startups

Young entrepreneur focuses on giving new businesses a leg up

Keegan Hayes founded the Capital Region Entrepreneurs Group (CREG), a networking organization that helps provide resources and advice to local entrepreneurs.

Keegan Hayes founded the Capital Region Entrepreneurs Group (CREG), a networking organization that helps provide resources and advice to local entrepreneurs. Submitted Photo

— At the workshops and events, CREG focuses on communication. Last month, CREG held a “Learn How to Pitch Your Business Idea” session that showcased two business pitches and had the audience describe what went well and what didn’t.

“We don’t want to just throw them out in front of the investors,” Hayes said.

Katrin Haldeman, owner of Café Dali Mamma in Cohoes, joined CREG after meeting Hayes over the summer. As a first-time business owner of the young café, Haldeman said CREG is a “valuable resource.”

“A lot of the networking … being able to meet other entrepreneurs who are facing the same challenges … is the biggest benefit. You really feed off of people’s energy,” she said.

Haldeman said one of the main benefits of CREG is the accessibility.

“Keegan is always available with a phone call, email. Having that accessibility to a group that supports you is key,” she said.

Starting his own business with CREG, Hayes said he wants to keep the focus of the group on the smaller, local businesses.

“The Capital Region is no longer just a quiet area. It’s attracting new businesses. The eyes are focused on big business, rather than small business,” Hayes said. “I’m trying to keep some of the focus on the entrepreneurial ecosystem and startups in the area.”

A big dreamer, right now Hayes just wants to be a resource for anyone who needs it. Though he’s still learning himself, he is determined to help others get on their feet.

“I’m not saying I have all of the answers, but people who come to the organization have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs and be a part of an organization that is created solely for the purpose to help this region grow and business in the area grow,” he said.

CREG will have its monthly “Trep’s Night Out” on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. at the Blu Stone Bistro in Albany. For more information on CREG, visit capitalregioneg.com.

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