How to Effectively Start a Business That Creates a Sustained Social Impact.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to your current career path.
I grew up in Harlem, NY after emigrating from Saint Lucia at the age of twelve. With the help of nonprofits, I attended Middlesex School and eventually earned a scholarship to Trinity College. Upon graduating, I began a career as a derivatives trader at Citigroup which went quite well. However, while the work was rewarding, I felt something was missing, and I was lacking purpose. In 2011, I was fortunate to find a circle of like-minded individuals who used their talents, money, and time talent to create meaningful impact. My personal access to nonprofit organizations fueled my motivation to develop a technology platform where other young professionals have the opportunity to engage with nonprofits at a higher level. I created CariClub, a unique online platform strategically positioned at the intersection of corporate citizenship and professional networking.
What is CariClub exactly?
CariClub gives young professionals access to philanthropic leadership opportunities, specifically associate board positions at well-known nonprofits and foundations. These types of opportunities can propel individuals forward in their career, due to a vastly increased network, access to potential mentors, and new leadership opportunities. Since launching in 2015, CariClub has partnered with more than 1,000 top nonprofit organizations to place young professionals on associate boards from prestigious organizations such as Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, KKR, Blackstone, Davis Polk, Sidley Austin, Deloitte, EY and many others.
Do you have any new projects or initiatives in the works?
CariClub is developing a program with New York-based corporate clients that will create board matching programs specifically for people of color — putting diverse candidates on nonprofit boards. This project is critical as it puts professionals of color on a meaningful short-and long-term career path, and confronts the lack of workplace equality has existed since the beginning of our country head on, with the potential for short and long-term impact.
What is your advice to others looking to launch a company to make a social impact?
- Do Your Homework
Don’t proceed with launching based on passion alone. It’s important to check in with yourself about how long you will realistically be able to sustain this passion, and what you are willing to give up to bring your project come to fruition. I vastly underestimated the amount of time and funding it would take.
- Establish Vision, Mission & Goal Statements
Create realistic and powerful vision, mission, and goal statements. Be clear in how you communicate these statements that are the essence of your company in order to attract like-minded business partners. Back all of these statements up with a solid business model that carefully details how you will meet your customers needs and deliver value to them.
- Be Prepared & Build A Support Network
In the creation of any business, you will encounter challenges – anticipated and unanticipated. Entrepreneurs of color in particular must contend with existing barriers rooted firmly in place that can make business establishment, including raising capital, a challenge. Have a plan to address this and be sure to build strong alliances with others who have been in your shoes in the past.
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