According to the Kauffman Index on Startup Activity, Miami had 520 new entrepreneurs per month in 2014; the second highest rate of startup activity in the entire nation. That’s right. Only Austin (at 550 per) ranked higher. And the metropolitan area with the third highest number of new entrepreneurs (the traditionally startup-soaked San Jose) came in with a distant 410 per.
This year promises to yield an even higher rate of startup activity in the Magic City, which means Miami entrepreneurs are gonna need any kind of advantage they can swing.
In enter Thrive. Put together by entrepreneur Al Nelson upon the founding of The Nelson Foundation, the Thrive Seminar was created to aid and abet in every way possible the budding entrepreneur, specifically in under-represented sections of our community. For the inaugural run, Nelson is bringing in Daymond John, founder of FUBU and a fixture of ABC’s Shark Tank, who’ll spend an entire hour answering any and all questions thrown his way.
In addition to facing off with one of the 21st century’s most successful entrepreneurs, Nelson and a panel of judges will also choose one of three finalists among the submitted startup pitches to receive $10K in funding, and, one surmises, their very own place on the fast track.
SFF Style got with Al Nelson in advance of the first Thrive; here’s what he had to say:
|In a sentence (or three), what’s the big idea behind the upcoming Thrive Seminar?The idea behind the Thrive Seminar is to give back to entrepreneurs and invest directly into our community. I think along with advice and mentorship a big thing that all start up companies need is a little funding.Who all will be in on the action?The Thrive Seminar is brought to you by the Nelson Foundation in association with the Knight Foundation. We’re also proud to announce that this first Thrive seminar will be hosted by Daymond John, who will do a live one hour Q&A.|
How’d you yourself get into the entrepreneurial racket?
I’ve always been a entrepreneur. I started my first company at 18. It was an artist management company, and it led to working in the music business with super producers Cool and Dre. My artist was signed to a major record deal and that was my first taste of success.
Did the game get any easier to play once you’d crossed the initial threshold(s)?
Things do get a little easier as you grow, but there are always difficulties with raising a company. It’s never easy. Yeah the initial things like forming a LLC, seeking out investment, things of that nature do get a little easier along the road due to relationships, but as you grow a business there will always be new challenges.
Might you say that how to get a start-up started is one of the main objectives behind the founding of Thrive?
The main objective behind the Thrive Seminar is to give back to entrepreneurs like my mentors gave back to me.
What other primary reasons lie behind your founding the Foundation?
There are no other reasons. The Nelson Foundation is very simply a vehicle for me to help entrepreneurs get in position to grow their companies and hopefully in the future help other entrepreneurs do the same.
Will all that be evident at the inaugural Thrive?
You tell me after Thrive!
by John Hood