Why did I choose VFA?
What motivates anyone to make any decision in his or her lifetime? For me, it’s simple. Self-improvement. What is the best way for me to achieve my goals and become a better person along the way? This is the question I pose to myself daily, almost incessantly. As of late, Venture for America has equipped me on where to begin in answering this question.
I came across Venture for America, shortly after leaving a second venture of my own. I immediately saw value in three aspects of the program:
1. The network
2. The mentorship opportunity
and 3. The orientation towards social impact
I decided to take one step closer on my journey to self-improvement and apply. If you are new to entrepreneurship, let me give you a brief insight as to why these three incentives spoke to me personally.
In terms of network, it is not only great to be imbued with a community of likeminded people with likeminded ambitions, but it is also encouraging to have a supportive family for the tougher times. Let me explain. Prior to VFA, I worked on my own startup for a about a year’s span, supporting myself with a brew of odd jobs, independent consulting, and welfare checks. Imagine the chaos of trying to manage and sustain a team, raise venture capital, and find money to feed your dog all the while living in the bustling metropolis of NYC. There were hard times to say the least. Moments of adversity can spiral out of control when you aren’t plugged into a community that can identify and empathize with your situation. Fast-forward to the present and a few months into my fellowship, I’ve already noticed the difference that a network makes, from fellow updates to impromptu check-ins. We all have our bad days, our family of fellows and the VFA team allows for someone else’s positivity and story to brighten those shades of grey in our lives. Of course, it also helps to be living in Miami, FL (shout-out to Rokk3r Labs).
Speaking of R3L, this brings me to my next point—mentorship. As someone who has started a company that did not quite make it to the finish line, I was eager to gain insight from those who were more experienced and successful than I. Furthermore, as a barebones fact, there aren’t many people in entrepreneurship that look like me. Imagine my surprise when I was able to not only sit at the feet of more experienced and successful entrepreneurs, but I also have the chance to work directly under a CEO that identifies with many of my life experiences. I was not fully aware of how things would pan out when I applied, but the best choices in life are those that have a ten times more positive impact than what you initially expected. I have had exposure to team management, process improvement, rapid prototyping, and then some—really seeing what makes a person a better individual, and in turn, a better CEO.
But VFA is not only about your life and your work. I think its best stated in one of our 5 credos: “I will create opportunities for myself and others”. A year ago, I had no idea that I would be on the streets of another city, trying to make an impact on others. VFA has given me the avenue to do so, whether it’s helping women who are trying to put their lives back together at Agape Ministries, volunteering at an animal shelter, or even tutoring high school students. My time spent here in Miami with some of its native community members has taught me to be less self-absorbed with my own issues and worries. It is easy to become distracted with your own life and aspirations, and the credos which I pledged and recited have been a pleasant reminder to take out time to be a blessing in someone else’s life.
I say all of this in hopes that my words can spark a mood of inspiration in you. VFA is an amazing program that has allowed me to put into context what it takes to become a better entrepreneur and a better person. Don’t get me wrong, it is a long journey ahead. That I can assure you. Still, it doesn’t hurt when you are starting that adventure on the beach.
To learn more about Jide and the rest of the Miami Fellows, click here.