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JEFA NATION is Here

We are looking for the next Latina mogul-in-the-making, and we've partnered with Eva Longoria, America Ferrera and a few other folks to help us find her.

First, some stats--courtesy of our friends at Support Latino Business:

  • Latino/x small business owners are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States
  • Latinas lead 44% of Latino/x small businesses that range from restaurants, online apparel shops, beauty and lifestyle products to financial services
  • Latino/x-owned businesses contribute over $800 billion to the American economy every year
  • These entrepreneurs are often unable to scale at the same rates in comparison to their non-Latino/x counterparts
  • The COVID pandemic has made this discrepancy even larger

This is why we are so proud and excited to announce JEFA NATION, a contest to support Latina entrepreneurship launching on the third annual Support Latino Business Day, which is today: September 14, 2021.

In order to be eligible,...

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REPLAY: John Lynn Wants You to Get Your Money

When it comes to funding a new business, John Lynn has a 360-degree view.

Started a business and got funding himself? Check.

Helped raise money for a venture fund? Check.

Selected start-ups for one of the best-known accelerators out there? Check.

Set up accelerators himself, and seen how hundreds of businesses lifted off? Uh, yeah.

In fact, over the last decade-plus, John has gone from entrepreneur himself (yes, he’s been there!) to joining hotshot accelerator Techstars, to becoming a guru in the overall accelerator space, helping grow businesses just like yours over and over again.

He’s spoken to the global business elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and worked with big names like Verizon, Harvard University and the United Nations to set up innovation and entrepreneurship programs.

The bottom line: The guy knows how businesses get money.

And he knows you can do it.

“Fundraising is an accessible activity that anyone can successfully...

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REPLAY: Shobana Mani Talks Start-Ups, Mentoring, and Why You Should Launch NOW

There can’t be too many people in the world who’ve both juggled numbers as a managing director at Goldman Sachs and handsewn textiles for ateliers working with designers like Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler.

But Shobana Mani has.

“I've always been two things: a commercial person and a creative person,” says the Parsons Entrepreneurial Academy mentor.  “My grandfather was a dyer in India, so I grew up among textile looms and seeing saris woven in front of his house. But then I did my master's degree at the London School of Economics, and in my first career, I worked in investment banking.”

When, after a dozen years, she found herself drawn back towards creative work—dreaming of launching a sustainable womenswear brand—she approached it with the finance sector’s rigor.

“A lot of people said to me, ‘You already have this background, why don't you just start the brand?’ But I just don't believe in that. I...

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Interview with Arlan Hamilton: Entrepreneurship is a Winding Path

Think of the most successful entrepreneurs that come to your mind. You may immediately think of their large social media following, their beautiful website, or their high profile connections. What you don’t see are the sleepless nights, the struggle and the triumphs along the way leading up to their massive success. You know, that not-so-glamorous part of the journey. 

What if the most challenging parts of your entrepreneurial journey were the same parts that will help you grow your business? 

Arlan Hamilton proves there is power in sharing your authentic story and why being an industry outsider is your greatest asset. As the CEO of Backstage Capital, she helps underserved founders of color gain resources for their dream. She is the author of It's About Damn Time, but before then she was building her business while homeless. 

We had the opportunity to connect with the author, podcaster, and founder one-on-one last week, where she shared her...

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I Lost Rights to My Own Name: How to Safeguard Your IP

Do you know if your intellectual property is protected? 

Legal considerations aren't usually something entrepreneurs get excited about when they're first starting their business. After all, it's way more fun creating products and finding a customer base who resonates with and appreciates what you do, right?

But, failure to at least think through how you're protecting your work can lead to a lot of problems that can bring your business to a grinding halt - or, worst-case scenario, lose you the rights to your own name or your creative work.

Most entrepreneurs figure this out the hard way... 

But in this panel discussion, you can tap into the experiences of three very successful entrepreneurs who faced - and OVERCAME - early IP issues and don't want you to make the same mistakes. 

Meet the Panelists:

Kay Unger is the CEO of Kay Unger Design and Chair Emerita of Parsons School of Design. She's a fashion designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, and top designer...

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How to Craft a Value Proposition for Your Creative Business

Your creative work is so unique. But how do you convey that value to customers and clients? That's where your value proposition comes into play!

A value proposition is a concise way to describe the unique value you, your company, and your product or service will provide your customer or client. It's a way to differentiate yourself from all the other creatives and creative businesses out there. But it goes even further than that. A strong value proposition allows you to attract the people who truly align with what you're all about. 

Now, actually writing a concise statement that accomplishes all that can definitely feel overwhelming, and that's why we brought in PwC strategy and design expert John Jones to lead an interactive workshop guiding our members through writing their very own unique value proposition tree. 

John has 20 years experience in service design, product design, strategic planning and brand development across multiple consumer touchpoints...

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The Easiest Way to Write a Business Plan as an Artist

As a creative, the very thought of writing a business plan can be well... intimidating as all HECK. Not to mention most business plans seem more like mini books filled with numbers and charts and investor-friendly language. Without business training, it can be hard to figure out where to start, and so it becomes one of those things we know we should do, but keep putting off. 

Thing is -- having a great business plan to follow can actually free up your creative mind, by removing any doubts about whether you’re putting your energy into the right activities…
 
...and creating one is FAR simpler than we’re led to believe!
 
You just need a tried-and-true model, and a mentor who can show you how to use it.
 
That's why we brought in award-winning strategist, business advisor, creative executive coach, and mentor, Shani Syphrett-Haynes to show you how to create an easy-but-effective ONE-PAGE business plan that will set you up for...
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Why Being Great Is NOT Enough for Today's Creatives

entrepreneurship Dec 30, 2020

Being good at your creative craft isn’t enough to build a career.

Being great at your creative craft isn’t even enough to build a career.

You devote yourself to cultivating your craft and developing your gift, while your friends and family cheer you on… or perhaps, against their wishes, because your passion gives you no other choice…

And after YEARS of hard work, the message everyone sends your way is, 

“Wow, you’re really talented. Good enough to really go somewhere with it, if you get lucky!”

And yet, for 99% of the artists who are “good enough” at their craft, in the eyes of the layperson, to make a career of it…

The “powers that be” couldn’t care less about your talent, your discipline, your focus, or your passion.

This is the uncomfortable reality of the digital era which we find ourselves in…

It was harder for creatives to become GREAT

As a species, we’ve been building...

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The 4 M's of Successful Entrepreneurs

What does it take for a creative entrepreneur to succeed?

What separates the artists and musicians who never get their ideas off the ground from the self-made icons who create global brands, perennial best-sellers, and have a lasting impact on their market - and society as a whole?

This is a question that the team here at Parsons Entrepreneur Academy have studied obsessively…

And the insight that has emerged… is that there are some key “factors” that nearly ALL successful entrepreneurs have in common.

Let’s call them… 

The 4 M’s of Entrepreneurial Success:

1 - Mindset

2 - Mentorship

3 - Methodology

4 - The Mastermind Effect

Now, to be clear, these 4 factors are the things that allow a talented, creative genius like yourself to make it in BUSINESS.

You wouldn’t be here, reading this, if you didn’t already have something incredible to add to the world… You’re already a talented and innovative artist,...

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How ShopShops CEO Liyia Wu Raised 20 Million for Her Startup

To say Liyia Wu is a Jane of all trades would be an understatement. 

Parsons Entrepreneur Academy had the chance to chat with Liyia Wu, the CEO, and co-founder of ShopShops — an innovative shopping platform that connects brick-and-mortar stores with consumers across the globe.  

From Parsons to Entrepreneur: How Liyia Wu Went From Graduate to CEO

Shortly after graduating from Saunder’s Business School of the University of British Columbia with a double major in finance and accounting, Wu decided to delve into the media industry in Beijing. It didn’t take long, however, for Wu’s true passion to find and persuade her into moving to the fashion capital of the decade — New York City. 

“I've always loved fashion,” says Wu. “When I graduated from the program [Associate of Arts and Sciences (AAS) Fashion Merchandising at Parsons], I worked in New York for about three years and then went back to China. I opened a...

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