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    • Our entrepreneurs are the inspiration for and driving force behind everything we do, pop up included. The minute we lose sight of that, we have failed critically in our mission. This event is so awesome because it puts our entrepreneurs front and center.

      And, expanding our clients’ customer base is very much a part of our mission and business model. For example, each year we work with corporate partners who host pop up markets with our clients to give their employees the chance to support small businesses and gain access to one-of-a-kind products.

    • One of the things that impressed me was your ability to multiple more than 7x the effectiveness of a donation, so that $1 dollar donated translates to $7.50 in services. What would you say are some of your secrets for success and efficiency?

    • We actively seek out feedback – and we move quickly to correct what isn’t working. We don’t get stuck doing things the wrong way because that’s how they’ve been done. Rather, we recognize and accept the role of failure in growth. We as individual people grow when we learn from our failures. We as an organization grow when we learn from our failures. I am very focused on building an organizational culture that isn’t afraid of failure – if we’re going to do it, and it’s going to happen, we want to acknowledge it, embrace it, do it quickly, learn from it, and move on. It’s not something to be ashamed about, or get upset about. The more we can learn from these experiences, the more quickly we can grow – and ultimately succeed.

    • If someone is starting out as an entrepreneur or small business founder, besides Start Small Think Big, what are some resources you'd recommend they check out?

    • We are extremely lucky to work with terrific community partners in both NYC and the Bay Area. In New York, we refer entrepreneurs to Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners for personal financial counseling services. In the Bay Area, we work closely with the San Francisco Economic Development Alliance (www.sfeda.org), a collaboration of 18 nonprofits in the small business space, all of whom work together to support entrepreneurship in different ways (by providing technical assistance support, incubator space, funding, etc.).

      It is also important to note that our organizational success depends upon an active and inspired group of legal, financial and marketing volunteers. This past year, we worked with over 1300 volunteers, who provided over $10 million in pro bono support to our clients!. We are very lucky to have such a skilled group of corporate and individual volunteers who work with us, and support our clients’ growth.

    • I love the entrepreneurs that we have the honor to support. Each one tells a different and inspiring story of an individual who is working so hard to find a way to do what they love. Every single one of them helps me to focus on why Start Small’s work is so critically important.

    • There is a direct correlation between supporting your local small business and community and economic development. On average, almost half of every purchase at your local small business is recirculated locally (in the form of payroll, goods/services purchased from area businesses, profits spent locally by the owner, or donations to area charities), compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores. Take the time and spend the money to support local businesses with your presence and your dollars. You really do vote with your wallet. When you shop locally, you are casting your vote for your community. Start shopping at https://www.startsmallthinkbig.org/gift-guide.

    • Congratulations on this new project! How exciting! Great mentors are everywhere, definitely not just in Silicon Valley. The local schools are full of possibilities - community colleges, colleges, graduate schools. There are professors and also student groups who would love a project
      like this. I'd also think about some of your local businesses/companies, all of whom have employees who might be interested in skills-based volunteer opportunities. You could also even post an ad in your local paper if you are looking for mentors with very specific skill sets. Business plan pitch competitions are a great way to drum up interest and support. You should definitely think through a screening process, especially because your mentors will be working with students - maybe a short questionnaire/interview that all applicants will need to complete?

    • Thanks so much for your question. Start Small works with 1300 volunteers each year, who provide about $10 million worth of pro bono legal, financial and/or marketing support to our entrepreneurs. We recruit our volunteers primarily from major law firms, banks, financial institutions and marketing companies (e.g., Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Debevoise & Plimpton, Morgan Stanley, AIG, Goldman Sachs, Neuberger Berman). Our projects really vary - some are longer-term (e.g., building a website) and some are just a few hours (e.g., incorporating a new
      business). All of our projects are limited scope - i.e., the volunteers know ahead of time exactly what they are signing up for.