AMA: McKeever Conwell, II
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 — Original AMA Facebook Event.
What is the Minority Business Pre-seed Fund? What led to its creation? What is the goal? What challenges does it have? Is there a precedent or comparable for it?
McKeever) So the Minority Business Pre-seed Fund is a pilot program that is a Partnership between Harbor Bank (A black owned bank in Baltimore) and TEDCO. This fund is created to give African-American founded startup as early as the idea stage and as far as the prototype stage $40,000 along with other resources to help them be more competitive for TEDCO’s Seed Investment Fund and other follow on funding .
It was created because TEDCO saw that they didn’t have many AA’s apply for funding and one of the things they learned as they connected with the community was many AA founders don’t have Access to Friends and Family money which is your initial founding to get a company started. This program aims to aid in filling that gap
Because we are investing in companies so early there is a lot of risk. We plan to surround the companies with as many resources as humanly possible to make them a success. The other major challenge is just educating the community on what it means to start a tech business or raise capital.
To my knowledge there isn’t a single program in the country like this currently. investors no longer invest in just ideas and surely aren’t focused on African-Americans. The closest thing you can compare it to is probably an accelerator that has a minority focus.
What kind of businesses is the Fund looking for?
McKeever) We fund technology product focus companies. So apps, SaaS, wearables, life sciences, just about anything that can be patented. I mean spanks are a type of technology. What we don’t fund is services companies, or IT firms.
What productivity methods do you use to avoid burnout in the hectic pace of starting a business?
McKeever) Look one thing you have to understand is no matter how many hours you work in a day there will always be more work. Always!
So I myself had to learn to take personal time and time to spend with friends and loved ones. You might even have to force yourself to do this or put this time on your calendar but you have to do it. You do yourself no favors by burning yourself out. Just take time, watch a movie, go out, netflix and chill, something other then your business because it will always be there.
I know this can be a tough thing and like I said I had to learn this the hard way. But please please please take time out for yourself. Your business is important but it isn’t the only thing