eSAX Entrepreneur Networking Ottawa Event Recap via Covert Ottawa Guy

eSAX Entrepreneur Networking Event Recap via Covert Ottawa Guy



Jarrod Goldsmith: Pursuing A Passion For Music And Entrepreneurship, By Myriah Saulnier

Jarrod Goldsmith: Pursuing His Passion

My First Feature Profile Piece as a Journalism Student
By Myriah Saulnier

A kiss on each cheek and a warm, delicate embrace. This is how this Montreal native will greet you whether you are his closest friend, his co-worker, an acquaintance or a stranger. When leaning out of his unusual and most sincere welcome, you can’t miss his trademark fedora or his upbeat attitude. With almost a skip to his step and a smile so genuine, his animated character makes you feel all warm and enthusiastic right along with him. This is just the beginning of the lasting impression the 39-year-old Orleans resident gives every person he encounters. He instantly has this rare ability to make you feel like you are the only person in a crowded room and there is nowhere else he would rather be. He genuinely wants to get to know you and help you find your way to success such as he has. No matter who you are or how long you’ve known him, Jarrod Goldsmith will always make you feel like an old friend.

One of Ottawa’s leading entrepreneurs and currently owning two booming businesses, Goldsmith is quickly gaining popularity in and around Ottawa. He is the leader of Sax Appeal known as Canada’s premier saxophone quartet and the founder of the social networking group named eSAX – the Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience – that just hosted an event for over 300 business people including Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. His professionalism and ability to manage two businesses is more than impressive, but it is Goldsmith’s extraordinary thoughtfulness that takes people by surprise. A fellow musician and friend, Peter Turner, recalls when Goldsmith helped him do yard work for a musician colleague of theirs who was dying and another time when Goldsmith traveled over an hour to show his support at Turner’s mother’s funeral. This genuine attitude that Goldsmith seems to carry with him always is what solidifies his name and face to the memory of each person he meets.

Goldsmith grew up in a Montreal suburban neighborhood with his parents and his younger brother and sister. He started playing the saxophone in high school and joined the Montreal All Star City Big Band formerly known as the CJAD, while only in Grade 9. The band was mostly made up of McGill University students from their prestigious and well-known music program. Despite the age difference, Goldsmith made strong connections with the other band members and this persuaded him to go there for a secondary education. He pursued a B.A. honors degree in anthropology while also playing in numerous McGill ensembles and working with the Student Society of McGill University and other departmental student organizations. He graduated from here in 1997 and went to the University of Alberta to earn a master in anthropology while specializing in archaeology. He joined the University of Alberta Jazz Band 1 as well as a hi-octane Latin band called Orchestra Energia that required him to perform throughout Western Canada. It was through a band member that he met the famous jazz musician Jeari Czapla, whom he helped record the album titled “For Ella” in the year 2000. The album garnered two nominations from the Aboriginal Music Awards and the Prairie Music Awards and was shortlisted in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album category at the 2002 Juno Awards. Goldsmith also travelled extensively while in his twenties. He went to England, Scotland, Paris, Israel and Japan (to name a few) for archeology co-op and music performances. He was also the president of both the HUB International Residence and the Anthropology Graduates Students Association at the University of Alberta where he organized events, coordinated meetings, and led student groups. He eventually graduated in 2001, his two-year degree taking him four years because he was so involved with student affairs. This is where Goldsmith’s love for music, travel, communicating, leading and networking began to bloom.

However, he moved back to Montreal after graduating and was still trying to figure out what career he wanted to pursue. “‘Get a real job’ was what my parents would always say,” Goldsmith said. So, not wanting to take over the family furniture business and not feeling like he fit in with archaeology, he decided to move to Ottawa in 2003 for a woman he was seeing and to get a job working with the government. “I started applying for government jobs, hundreds of jobs a week,” Goldsmith said. “That was my life to apply for government jobs and I didn’t even care what department.” He ended up getting contract work with the government but it would only last six to eight months or one year at a time. Still, Goldsmith was determined and he applied to jobs every single day which helped him to hone his organizational skills and taught him the importance of making connections. He did this for seven to nine years, but there were no benefits and nothing was permanent.

In the meantime, between the contracting jobs, Goldsmith quickly became a regular in the Ottawa / Gatineau music scene. He played with numerous bands, but most notably Big Band Caravane and Alternate Takes which had more high-end gigs. It was with both of these groups that Goldsmith performed at the NAC and the International Jazz Festival. He ended up getting married to the woman he moved to Ottawa for in the summer of 2007 and they got a house together in Orleans.  They divorced in 2008 partly because he couldn’t hold down a job. Again, the stress of not having a “real job” was a problem he faced.

So after his last contracting job in May 2011 and with nothing to lose, Goldsmith decided to try an employment center to figure things out. He knew he had played music his whole life and realized maybe that was something he actually wanted to pursue. He ended up being eligible for a program called OSEB which is the Ontario Self-Employment Benefit program, which gave him funding for 42 weeks and specialized training on entrepreneurship, marketing and sales. This transformed his whole outlook on his career. “I never thought I would ever go into music, never thought I would be an entrepreneur or have my own business,” Goldsmith said. “Something clicked in my head that this was what I was supposed to do, this was it.”

With all of his experience and background to support him and with the funding OSEB provided, he started hosting networking events where they would talk about business. He would attend other networking events seven to eight times a week and tried everything he could to promote his new musical group, a saxophone quartet named Sax Appeal. “I had tried all the other routes, and they weren’t working,” Goldsmith said. “Music was my passion and I was really happy to do what I wanted to do, finally, after a lifetime of people telling me I was crazy or that I should find something else.”

So he continued to work harder to prove them wrong. He decided to join all the Chambers of Commerce which further got his name recognized around Ottawa and which got him the business for Sax Appeal that he had been looking for.  He started playing for wedding ceremonies, cocktail/dinner receptions, and diplomatic events and even took the time to play for charitable organizations, not-for-profit events and retirement facilities. “I realized nobody had heard of a group like this, so I needed to go above and beyond with networking to tell people what I did or I wasn’t going to have a job,” Goldsmith said.

He was still hosting networking events on the side but instead of naming them after OSEB, Goldsmith came up with his own name eSAX which started his next business in September 2011. The name is easily relatable to his other business Sax Appeal, even though they are two very different businesses. He made eSAX for business people to make connections, gain applicable knowledge from featured speakers and to promote collaboration among the various Chambers of Commerce in Ottawa. “These events were actually helping people, especially entrepreneurs and when one of my events was sponsored for the first time I realized I could make money on them,” Goldsmith said. “I could finally break even and start paying my mortgage.”

The name of his businesses have grown since, keeping Goldsmith a very busy man. He collaborated with Algonquin College School of Media and Design student Wasim Baobaid resulting in a documentary short “The Making of Sax Appeal Ottawa – Behind the Music” which screened at the 2012 Wakefield International Film Festival (WIFF) on April 1. He has been featured in the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the Orleans Star, the Ottawa Sun, the Epoch Times and numerous other publications. He has performed and been interviewed on Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV, CTV Ottawa and CBC Radio. He has given speeches about his expertise on networking for OSEB, the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce and Carleton University as part of their Political Science Professional Development Day. Sax Appeal has had their busiest year yet, performing at over 35 events including the Ottawa International Jazz Festival and the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. eSAX has expanded gathering over 300 business people together and his networking events continue to be sponsored. To say he is everywhere is an understatement and his hard work has not gone unnoticed.

Just recently, Goldsmith has been nominated for three awards: Orleans Chamber of Commerce Arts, Leisure & Recreation Business of the Year Award, Ottawa-Gatineau’s RGA Francophone Chamber of Commerce Micro-Business of the Year and Project/Initiate of the Year Awards.

After a lifetime of experiences and misfortunes, Goldsmith persevered and turned his passions into business opportunities with extreme dedication. He has finally found his niche.

“Always get a real job was what I always heard, but music was what I loved,” Goldsmith said.
“So pursue something you love and show people you can do it.”


Originally posted at:

Ottawa Event Review: eSAX, Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience

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

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: 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 Tell them that Covert Ottawa Guy sent you!

This was originally posted at

eSAX Is Changing the Face of Networking Events.. This Is How!

Article source: Swaaap

by: Adam Viola

When an individual typically thinks of a networking event, it’s not always in a positive light. When it comes to social interaction, many people have the tendency to crawl into their shell. This behavior could be explained by having a fear of rejection or not knowing exactly who could be your best connection. The idea of awkwardly approaching other professionals can prompt many to send off unnerving vibes during a potential business conversation. This, recurring occurrence, unfortunately, may create many uncomfortable encounters throughout the course of an event. These instances may be especially true for a new entrepreneur trying to network a startup business. However, when it comes to eSAX, it’s not really a networking event at all; but rather, a gathering to celebrate small businesses in Ottawa.
Whether you arrive in style via East Coast Limos private 18-person party bus with an endless flow of bubbly, or by free fare courtesy of eSAX and OC Transpo (with purchase of an eSAX networking event ticket), eSAX always finds a way to get you to the party. It’s not only the professional photographer taking your photo beside an 8-foot tall logo illuminated glow column in front of a media wall that makes you feel like a celebrity, but it’s also the subtle strut that you will take down their embroidered black and yellow branded carpet to enter the event. With an opportunity like this, you will be guaranteed to leave a lasting mark on the others around you. eSAX goes above and beyond to give guests a celebrity treatment while ensuring they get the opportunity to share knowledge, interact with others in their community – all while creating long-lasting relationships between businesses.

Located in the heart of Lansdowne Park, attendees are encouraged to arrive early! The upcoming event on July 6th 2016 is from 6pm to 10pm, but Jarrod Goldsmith, the founder of eSAX, tends to open the doors early for those who are keen to get a jump start. Upon arrival, participants are gifted with plenty of bonus incentives: a custom lanyard, a “swag bag”, the opportunity to leave a business card for a chance to win many of the door prizes valued at a minimum price of $200, as well as a complementary drink ticket courtesy of another sponsor Elite Accounting. Guests can also receive an eSAX signature drink –‘SAX On The Beach’ or eSAX wine while waiting for their big moment to spark up a conversation with a potential partner. Dylan Black from BOOM 99.7 will be the MC for the night and when he is not on stage, the Sax Appeal saxophone ensemble will do their part to stimulate the atmosphere for guests while they mingle and engage in friendly networking. With the continuous involvement of distinguished guest speakers at every event, eSAX helps bring a refreshing feel to all that attend.

Partakers will notice that an event like this is not a place where business cards are being thrown around like flyers; instead it’s an event where small businesses go to make long-term connections. eSAX networking events have grown over the past four years. Starting at Maxwells, with an attendance of thirty people, eSAX has grown into a massive gathering that brings over ~450 entrepreneurs quarterly. Not only will there be plenty of professionals to introduce yourself and your business, but one can also expect a high-spirited environment that encourages participation and friendly conversations. For those guests who are actively attending these periodical events, they will be the first to tell you that if you’re not at eSAX, you’re not networking!
For more information on this event, upcoming events, and to receive networking tips and advice, like and follow eSAX on Facebook, as well as Ask The Fedora on Twitter.  Jarrod Goldsmith will be live tweeting throughout the event, so make sure to use the hashtag #eSAX while you are there. You never know where you’ll find the fedora next!

Check out this short promo video for an idea on what to expect.

Purchase your tickets here and use the promo code SWAAAP to receive a $10 discount.

Hope to see you there!

Expand your Web of Connections with eSAX

Post from: Fundica

Have you ever heard of the 6 degrees of separation theory? It states that one person can be connected to any other person on the planet by knowing no more than 6 people. Through the chain of “a friend of a friend” one person has the opportunity to connect with every single individual in the entire world.

Everyone knows that having a strong web of business connections is ideal for any entrepreneur, but where do you even find the opportunity to meet these new people and expand your network?

This is exactly what Jarrod Goldsmith, founder of eSAX experienced when trying to find gigs for his band Sax Appeal. By attending networking events, Jarrod literally branded himself as a natural networker and soon sprouted the idea of eSAX, an entrepreneur networking group for startups to create connections, gain knowledge and promote collaboration among regional Chambers of Commerce.

Holding events every 3 months to coincide with the provincially funded Y-Enterprise Centre Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Program (OSEB), eSAX’s purpose is not to compete with other networking events. Rather, eSAX provides additional opportunities for (primarily new) business owners to network among some of the region’s most prestigious business leaders and organizations, to learn entrepreneurial skills, and to create more cooperation among all the Chambers of Commerce within the region.

With years of experience and a web of entrepreneurial connections throughout Canada, we are proud to have eSAX on board as a community partner for the Ottawa Funding Roadshow.

As Jarrod Goldsmith mentioned “Canada is a world-class incubator for technology startups but it’s one thing to have a great idea, and quite another to bring it to fruition. eSAX is pleased to leverage its network of startups to spread the word about Fundica and the Funding Roadshow to those whom might otherwise never would have had the opportunity to participate.”

Jarrod Goldsmith further expressed his enthusiasm for the Funding Roadshow by answering a few questions:

Why did you decide to join the Funding Roadshow?

Following ones passion by creating a startup has many challenges. One of the largest hurdles is spreading the word and having the right kind of community engagement so that people/organizations who share the vision can learn what you have to offer.

Having eSAX join the funding roadshow is a great way to leverage such an excellent opportunity to many of the regions’ startups who may otherwise never have heard of it.

What does it mean to you to be a partner in a nationwide event helping entrepreneurs?

It’s a great feeling knowing that what eSAX is accomplishing in Ottawa can be used to help encourage, promote and share resources among startups across Canada. eSAX is built on the foundation that entrepreneurs should try to help one another succeed.

Register for the next event here

The Man Behind the eSAX Fedora

By Adam Viola via Swaaap

When people think about Jarrod Goldsmith, the first thing that usually comes to mind is his majestic fedora. Jarrod has been a key factor in Ottawa’s entrepreneur and small business progression by creating networking events that bring ~450 entrepreneurs together every three months. But who is Jarrod Goldsmith and how did eSAX all get started?

At a young age Jarrod knew that he was passionate about music; so becoming a musician seemed to be the right course of action for him to take. Although there were doubts from his family and friends, he never allowed himself to get discouragement or veer away from his ultimate goal – which was to have music continue to play an important role in his life.

When Jarrod attended McGill University, he did not receive his honours in the topic that everyone thought he would have. Instead, he went completely left field and received his honours degree in anthropology (Although he continued performing in bands at McGill and around Montreal). Once he completed his undergraduate studies, an anthropology Masters program at the University of Alberta was the next step in his journey.

Continuing where he left off at McGill, Jarrod was not only involved in extracurricular activities, but continued to also be active within the music community, auditioning for bands and playing many venues around Edmonton. Over the years he had the opportunity to travel considerably, pursuing both archeology and performing music. After graduating, Jarrod never knew where he was going to land his next gig or potential job. Government work seemed to be the way to go, but after many contracts within different departments, his options were spreading thin. Jarrod Goldsmith did what everyone told him not to do – he started a band and thus SAX Appeal was born.

Since very few people have ever heard of a saxophone group such as this and considering there was simply no market for an all saxophone ensemble, Jarrod needed to create one. This took a lot of networking. After connecting with all of the hotels, event planners, wedding companies and corporate communities around Ottawa, Jarrod looked for additional contacts through Chambers of Commerce.

Usually when a business owner joins a Chambers of Commerce, it is because they reside or do business within the boundaries of that specific geographical community, but not Jarrod.  Since he would take a gig anywhere around town, he joined ALL of the Chambers of Commerce in the Nation’s Capital, and in doing so, realized that there was one fundamental flaw that he could not get out of his head; each Chamber of Commerce often do not collaborate with one another.

Jarrod began hosting events every three months; originally to coincide with the Ontario Self Employment Benefits Program. These events bring the various chambers together to help fellow entrepreneurs and businesses around the community. No other organization had ever done this before. Many entrepreneurs face a similar problem; they were inexperienced startups that did not have the familiarity of networking.

eSAX (The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience ) was soon born.  These events allow startups and small businesses to connect with one another and build partnerships, leads, and relationships within Ottawa’s business community. An eSAX event is not your typical event – it actually has all of the bells and whistles of a celebrity event! It is a venue where other like-minded individuals can network and build their business, while a unique live saxophone ensemble (provided by the one and only SAX Appeal) sets the nights’ atmosphere. Events like these are not places where others hand out their business cards like a feeding frenzy; it’s a place where compatible professionals celebrate small businesses in their community. These events have become so popular that #eSAX trends on Twitter.

When Jarrod isn’t at networking events, or hosting his own, he can be found creating YouTube videos through his “Ask The Fedora” channel. These videos discuss a wide-range of networking and businesses tips, and provide people with the encouragement and knowledge to better approach their networking endeavors, while making them less stressful and more successful!

A lot of people can get discouraged from their dreams. Many people face obstacles that seem too high to climb. Countless numbers of people bail before the ship sinks. He not only did what his peers said he couldn’t, but he found a unique trait along the way that allowed him to create his own environment where he could succeed. Not many are willing to take these tough steps, but all of us owe it to ourselves to at least try. Jarrod is a perfect example of the notion of what you believe, you can achieve.

For information on upcoming events, and to receive networking tips and advice, like and follow eSAX on Facebook, as well as Ask The Fedora on Twitter. You never know where you’ll find the fedora next!

Check out this short promo video for an idea on what to expect at an eSAX event.

Purchase your tickets here

Rogers TV – From “Wantrepreneur” to entrepreneur with Jarrod Goldsmith

Jarrod got a chance to sit down on an “Ottawa Experts” panel with Rogers TV to discuss some tips for success as an entrepreneur.

Learn what it takes to go from a “Wantapreneur” to an entrepreneur in this live television panel discussion featuring some enthusiastic business leaders, all from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Upfront Ottawa

Local Musician Champions Networking | Ottawa Business Journal

“A local musician is putting his creative touch to the concept of networking. Now, his events, dubbed eSAX (entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience) are starting to grow.” Ottawa Business Journal

A local musician is putting his creative touch to the concept of networking. Now, his events, dubbed eSAX (entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience) are starting to grow.

In fact, saxophonist Jarrod Goldsmith said Wednesday afternoon he expected about 300 entrepreneurs to attend his latest gathering at the Marriott that evening.

Mr. Goldsmith said the events are held every three months to coincide with the Ontario Self Employment Benefits Program (OSEB), a provincially funded program provided by the YMCA-YWCA.

Mr. Goldsmith went through the program three years ago. An archaeologist by training, he realized then that if he wanted to treat his passion – music – as a viable business, he needed to network.

“So I joined all the chambers of commerce … and I hosted events to bring together the collaborative efforts of all local chambers of commerce to help offer resources for startup entrepreneurs,” he said.

Each event features one chamber. Ian Faris, president and CEO of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, is one of the speakers Wednesday.

The events typically run for three hours with an hour-and-a-half of networking to start, speeches and question-and-answer sessions for 45 minutes in the middle and more networking to wrap up the night.

And of course, Mr. Goldsmith’s musical group Sax Appeal provides the entertainment.

“Some of the best networking happens at the beginning of the night and at the end of the night,” Mr. Goldsmith said. “The word ‘social’ is in the name of what eSAX stands for, so I try to break down the barriers and make the networking more fun, less formal and less intimidating for people.”

He said learning is a big part of the event, which is why the speakers are there, but really, it’s all about making connections.

“Having attended hundreds of networking events myself over the years, literally, I’ve seen what works. It’s not the same old,” he said. “I’m all over social media, man.”

He said there will also be live tweeting from the event (#esax).

Mr. Goldsmith said he paid for the event himself for the first two years but now has sponsors helping him out, and as the event grows, people are starting to take notice.

Peter Stewart, manager of Entrepreneurship Services with Invest Ottawa, said the event is just what the Ottawa business community needs.

“Networking opportunities such as this eSAX event allow us to promote our services

and make connections to entrepreneurs all over the community,” Mr. Stewart said in a statement.

These connections are proving to be not only good for eSAX, but also for Mr. Goldsmith’s music project.

“I joined all of the chambers of commerce and then, bang, right away I started getting corporate gigs and in so doing, my name and my brand was growing and that is one of the reasons why eSAX is taking off so much,” he said.