Local entrepreneur Ryan Rydell cast on reality TV show "The Blox"


The Stateline has a reality TV contestant to root for in Ryan Rydell as he showcases his business “My City Guide” on TV. 

Rydell, owner of RyCOM Creative and founder of the digital franchise business "My City Guide," has been chosen as a contestant for the reality TV competition, "The Blox." Created and hosted by reality TV star Wes Bergmann, known for his appearances on MTV's "The Real World" and "The Challenge," "The Blox" is dubbed as the world’s “largest live-in start-up competition.” The show is currently available on Prime Video, Facebook Series, and the BetaBlox app.

With offices in Rockton, Rydell serves as the head of Stateline Baseball and Vice President of the Stateline Chamber of Commerce. He was a candidate for Roscoe Township Supervisor, and serves as board member for several local charities and trade associations.

As a volunteer coach/mentor for Hononegah Community High School's entrepreneurship program, he has helped in shaping the next generation of business leaders. Rydell's own entrepreneurial journey started in his basement in 2009. 

Out of an estimated 50,000 applicants nationwide, Rydell successfully navigated through three rounds of rigorous interviews to secure a coveted spot on the show set to film in July 2024. "The Blox" features entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and industries competing to grow their businesses under the guidance of industry experts and mentors. 

In 2011 Rydell started RyCOM Creative, a local marketing & design agency, but he will be focusing on My City Guide while on the show. He says the business mimics the same model used by Elon Musk to make his first $307 million.

My City Guide, which has been operating a local website, myrockford.guide, for about three years now, offers a  franchise model for local entrepreneurs to establish and operate their own digital city guide businesses throughout the nation. With exclusive licensing rights per city, My City Guide provides a suite of digital tools, including online directories, event listings, coupons, menus, reviews, and marketing resources designed to help local businesses to thrive in today's digital landscape.

"I am thrilled to be selected as a contestant on 'The Blox,'" says Ryan. "At first, I wasn’t sure if a reality show was worth my time, but after speaking with the casting director, I realized this opportunity would allow me to showcase My City Guide on a national platform and also highlight the potential for entrepreneurship and creativity in our community. I'm excited to learn, grow, and inspire others through this incredible experience."

Ryan also added, “Of course I intend on winning the competition and representing strong for my city, but even if I don’t win, I will leave with tons of great knowledge, connections, and more motivation to succeed.”

Ryan also has recently partnered with his friend Jim Baluch to create a webcast "Middle Staged," a show that features a light-hearted perspective on being a middle-aged male. Ryan is adamant about adding - with some sarcasm - that Middle Staged is “not a podcast”.

Through his agency, RyCom Creative, Ryan has helped launch and grow dozens of local brands, events, and organizations - even expanding to serve hundreds of companies nationwide. 

My City Guide is currently working through the gAlpha program and building out its national scaling systems. Ryan says it lets aspiring entrepreneurs get into the digital business world without having to invest large amounts of capital, and without needing to know anything about coding or app development. He calls it a full “business in a box” digital franchise.

Rydell hopes to use this national platform and the lessons learned through “The Blox” to expand the brand to a national audience at a faster rate.

Rydell will be posting on social media through Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok about his journey on "The Blox" as he competes to elevate My City Guide to new heights and represent our community on the national stage. He leaves on July 18.

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