Ricky’s crusade began shortly after graduating college. He had landed a job in corporate America that he wasn’t exactly fulfilling. Above all else, Ricky had a deep yearning to find his passion in life. As a kid, Ricky always had an entrepreneurial streak—he dreamed of starting his own business. Finally, in 2010, he decided to leave the corporate desk job in pursuit of striking out on his own.
Ricky poured over countless books on uncovering passions and discovering natural strengths—and ultimately tried to start a business based on a simple idea. But, like many entrepreneurs, he experienced setback after setback—rejections from bankers, investors and potential partners. Had he not been focused on his inner mantra, “keep an open mind,” Ricky might have given up. Instead, he came to the realization that all things happen for a reason.
After years of frustrating fits and starts, Ricky wondered what he was doing wrong. Finally, one evening, something dawned on him. Ricky had begun learning about black entrepreneurship and the unique hurdles non-white founders face, and something just clicked.
Entrepreneurship wasn’t encouraged or even talked about in Ricky’s community as a kid, nor is it in many communities of color across the US. This revelation sparked something for Ricky—he was learning on the go, completely on his own—struggling as he never learned some of the tools more privileged entrepreneurs take for granted.
Grooming great entrepreneurs takes time. If we want our kids to become the great innovators of tomorrow, we’ve got to plant the seed earlier in life.
Mind Body Apparel aims to do just that; building confidence and self-esteem in inner-city youth, while fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. In Ricky’s case, he always knew he had to create his own career, but that’s not the case for every child.
Whether kids choose to be doctors, firefighters or tech startup founders—what’s most important is empowering them to take ownership over their own futures. Let’s teach our kids to think beyond immediate employment, arming them with the tools it takes to succeed.