Northside Business Spotlight

Paper Maker of the Northside

What barriers are in place for young people to find their passion? What are the additional barriers faced by young people in North Minneapolis and young people of color?

“You know I think this ties back to why I’m in North. When I left corporate and joined the community ranks I started to really see how the system is set-up and how it’s not set-up for success quite frankly. And I would argue it’s not a color thing it’s a process thing. If you don’t generally have the money or the network or the relationship capital you can just hang it up now. I don’t know if these are the challenges that the kids face because I actually see a shift in the generation coming behind us. They’re making up the highest number of entrepreneurs right now, so they’ve given up on the traditional model that everyone before me sort of followed: you go to college, you get your corporate job, and you get married. Whereas a good amount of the kids that work out of here have decided to take a different path by leaving traditional schools and learning institutions knowing the school learning system doesn’t make sense for them. They can learn faster and more efficiently doing. So we’ve started seeing that trend more often of kids wanting to take that next step.”

By next step do you mean starting a business? What do young entrepreneurs struggle with when starting a business?

“There’s a gap of understanding with how to start a business. I think the biggest opportunity is gonna be education to help hone this natural raw talent and putting it into the context of a business. Because I always say 5% of NEW RULES is the space and the product. The piece that matters, that other 95%, is invoicing, cleaning up the space, landscaping, etc. Most people just want to do that 5% but it’s like no, that 5% actually doesn’t even matter when you first open. I didn’t even care about the products so much as I did the processes. What I’ve seen traditionally in our coaching programs for kids is that they’re generally focused on the aesthetics and not the functionality. It’s been really fun to sort of play in that space to close that information gap. I think social media has fooled them into thinking that there’s such a thing as an overnight success. You just gotta do it.”