Concordia's Day of Engagement marks the unofficial end of the Concordia Annual Summit, connecting issues with real, high-impact social alliances. This year, Envolve, an organization that supports diverse entrepreneurs, joined us. CEO, Chris Upperman, shared some of his best advice for budding business owners in honor of National Entrepreneurs' Day.
There’s a certain amount of risk involved in supporting any idea or a young entrepreneur –– what makes the untapped potential of aspiring entrepreneurs so special?
When we reflect on our history here in America, what we come to realize is some of our greatest achievements of the past have been the result of new innovations, technological advancements, and small startups becoming large enterprises. There is so much potential for future entrepreneurs if we ease and unlock access to resources and capital. Risk is a part of our American business “DNA”—and always has been—so we celebrate the fact that aspiring entrepreneurs might have the next best idea, life-altering product, or provide a service that can make our daily lives better.
What would you say to young entrepreneurs eager to grow a business, but unsure of where to start?
Take time to do your research! We are fortunate to be in a period where technology has leveled the playing field for most. No more are the days of visiting a library and researching “business” or economic principles from a book. There are so many free resources online and at our disposal there’s almost no excuse for not getting started. To bring this full circle, find a mentor and someone you trust who will give honest feedback and advice. Getting a startup off the ground is not easy, but having someone share best practices, helping with strategy and reinforcing smart business principles is critical.
What encourages you most about the future of entrepreneurship in underserved communities?
The untapped potential and the promise of the underserved communities is what’s most encouraging to me. There’s an entire community of makers, innovators, thinkers, and doers who have the solutions already, they just need a little more attention and a spotlight placed on them for all the dots to connect. Stop and reflect on why so much deal flow takes place on Wall Street. Let’s ponder why startups establish and thrive in Silicon Valley. It’s not a coincidence, both are environments that regenerate success as a result of investment in macro infrastructures that support the thinkers and doers. There is a movement to support more inclusive entrepreneurship and this charge is being led by organizations such as Envolve.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
“What are you waiting for… for the [metaphorical] environment to be perfect? Just do it.”
I grew up playing sports, basketball and track. I was often told—although it’s been said many ways— “you miss all of the shots you never take,” so seize the moment and don’t miss your opportunity!
Founded by The Libra Group, Envolve is a 501(c)(3) entrepreneurship organization committed to cultivating a global entrepreneurial ecosystem – helping diverse communities access resources, advice and support services to pursue their business dreams.
To learn more visit: envolveglobal.org