The past year has been a challenging time for us all with a global pandemic, financial uncertainty, and the continued struggle for economic empowerment. As a small business owner it has been a huge learning curve, but it has also created some amazing opportunities. I launched my business in 2019 not fully understanding who my customers would be, what my business model was, or how I would sustain a family in the Bay Area. Luckily, I had my wife's support and I was able to find the internal resiliency to keep my business going when the revenue stopped and the world shifted last March. I have always found that it's when you hit rock bottom and you have to start over, that the biggest gifts in life reveal themselves. And it's true now in 2021 as we prepare for the fastest growing US economy in decades. The questions I ask myself and I ask of you are...
"Who is going to have access to this economic opportunity?"
"Can we reimagine the future of work and entrepreneurship to ensure more equity and access?"
"What do we need to build today so we can have a better tomorrow?"
This is my response to those big questions, the body of work I've committed myself to, and the team I have found to get this done.
In 2020 I made three big shifts:
For 20 years I focused on youth, from the South Bronx to East Oakland, and now I'm working with adults, yet the importance of establishing trusting relationships remains
Moved from K-12 / Non-Profit sectors to Small Business Entrepreneurs + Community Colleges as my primary clients
Shifted from being an employee within larger organizations to an entrepreneur without a safety net
And I have devoted myself to two main projects that in 2021 will take off and have a life of their own:
With my partners Ben Wanzo and Martha Hernandez, I incubated a business incubator, ESO Ventures, which next week will launch as its own business entity with a goal of building A Business A Day for the Next 10 Years
With my friend and collaborator Xavier Nazario and his colleagues at the Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACCC) we are launching A Case for Cannabis, a new educational series exploring the entrepreneurial and workforce opportunities in the Cannabis Industry
I cannot give enough thanks to Ben, Martha, Xavier and my wife's support for allowing me to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams and build alongside them.
Check out these three opportunities to engage with this work next week, and hope to find ways to reimagine the future of work and entrepreneurship with you all in the months and years to come.
All the best,
Founder, Working World