When barriers in life muddy our vision, it can be hard to see our own potential. Braxton Lee Belving joined our new Pivot Accelerator Program unsure how he was going to adapt his fine decorative painting business, Braxton Crafted Luxuries, to a changed economic reality. He knew he had the skills to do something different, but he needed help building the confidence to articulate a new vision. Braxton embraced the program’s “Entrepreneur Challenges” with an open mind and, with the support of his mentor, was able to identify a big market opportunity through customer research and interviews. He is now capitalizing on the needs of clients spending significantly more time at home by offering fence and deck refurbishing and exterior painting.
There’s no doubt that small business owners have been especially vulnerable in this economic downturn. But, as Braxton has demonstrated, entrepreneurs are also uniquely situated to drive the recovery. By their nature, entrepreneurs are resilient and willing to push fear aside to pursue emerging opportunities. The vast majority own micro businesses, which are particularly well suited to times of uncertainty and change given that they often have lower barriers to entry and are more nimble due to their size.
A new project called Venture Forward studied millions of micro businesses in the US and the “everyday entrepreneurs” behind them. Following the 2008 recession, the counties that experienced the strongest recoveries were those with the highest number of these micro ventures; they had more micro businesses than the national average and twice as many as the counties with the worst recoveries.
Our economy is going to look different on the other side of this crisis. That means opportunity is everywhere, and RMMFI will continue in our role of connecting people to that opportunity even when they can’t see it for themselves. Entrepreneurs like Braxton are proof that once we create that space, people are unstoppable.