I am the first person to advocate that a 5 year plan would be redundant within the first 12 months because the pace that technology advances is so fast that it is impossible to predict what the market will be in 5 years. However in this article, I will share my 10 year goal and explain why I am committed to this long term aspiration.
What has pissed me off in recent years is witnessing the vast amount of untapped creative talent in under served communities across the UK. Communities better known for crime statistics, unemployment rates and council estates. What has become increasingly apparent is that so many young people foster ideas but struggle to execute to build a business. I have identified three primary reasons for this:
- A lack of training in entrepreneurship
- A lack of a network (mentors, ex-entrepreneurs, VC’s)
- A lack of capital
Across the pond in the US there are several initiatives, incubators, accelerators and VC’s that have a mission to address the problems above , below are just a handful of many:
- Digital Undivided by Kathryn Flynn
- NewMe Accelerator by Angela Benton
- Kapor Capital
- Ulu Ventures
- Unshackled Ventures
- Neighborhood Start Fund by Lupe Fiasco
- Andressen Horrowitz who invested in Tristan Walkers, Walker and Company
- Comcast Ventures Capital Fund
- Founders First Capital Partners
- Queensbridge Venture Partners created by NY rapper Nas with successful portfolio companies such as Dropbox, Robinhood, Genius and Lyft
- Jay-Z in recent weeks announced he has created Arrive to invest in startups and leverage his experience and network in creating and growing brands and business development
- Intel Capital Diversity
- Code2040 by Tristan Walker
- Greenwood Project
- Black Girls Code
- Magic Johnson Enterprises
- Backstage Capital
- 2020 Shift
As you can see above an ecosystem has developed to support under represented communities to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the education, motivation and support to help turn ideas into businesses. A golden thread that runs through them all is the track record of the management team, the strength of their network and their access to capital.
My 10 year goal is to help foster this ecosystem here in the UK. Although the UK presents a much smaller scale, it is still a very much needed ecosystem where we can learn lessons from our US counterparts and create a model that works best for our context here in the UK. Imagine how much untapped ideas we are currently sleeping on? Imagine the business benefits of tapping into this diversity of thought? All this and more encourages me to feed my curiosity and scratch my own itch to discover how I can connect with others to achieve this vision.
Not sure of the steps, not clear on whom I will connect with but what I do know is that I have started on a journey to achieve a WHY that is compelling enough to both scare and excite me!
What am I doing today that contributes to solving this problem?
I currently live at the intersection where I see and speak to young people in my community almost daily, yet I have travelled to over 40 countries in the last 5 years and worked extensively with startups and large companies (including running my own business for a while, Mixtape Madness).
This means I can still relate to the ‘mandem in the endz’, yet uniquely I can operate in the corporate world too and therefore translate the transferable lessons in a relative way. For example, I delivered a workshop on how the Entrepreneurial Spirit can manifest itself in both a Drug Dealer and a business owner. Both buy low, sell high (profit), understand the importance of customer retention and share the same basic economics. Big difference lies within the risk and reward of both ventures. The loss of life or jail on the one hand whilst at most 1% of Drug Dealers in the UK become 100,000'aires. Whereas the business owner could at worst fail their business and at most do what they love for work and become a millionaire. Of course, it’s not quite like for like, but it does get you thinking about how important it is to tailor the education and training on entrepreneurship to ensure it is relatable.
Nevertheless the three main things I am doing now are:
- Developing my skill set as an ‘operator’ in a high growth startup I am passionate about (as a Product Manager)
- Mentoring and advising early stage entrepreneurs whilst developing my network across the ecosystem
- Understanding in depth the range of capital accessible across the UK for aspiring entrepreneurs and connecting with investors
Like I tell young people all the time, London presents a wealth of opportunities and therefore we don’t all have to become athletes, footballers, rappers or trappers. There are alternative routes that leverage the entrepreneurial spirit and can lead to success in a career, as a consultant or even as a business owner. It all depends on your expertise, interests and the risks you are willing to take to obtain the rewards.
Check out this recent interview with Productivity Coach @MrWorkSmarter
QUICK PLUG: My inspiration is my mother, she became an entrepreneur at age 60, but she needs our help. She is raising funds to buy a shuttle bus to support low income families in picking up their children for Nursery. Check it out here: https://www.gofundme.com/juliets-nursery-mini-bus-campaign
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