Opening Up Entrepreneurship To All: The Resource Hub

Young woman working on desktop computer at home

Loads of potential entrepreneurs have nice enterprise concepts however are held again of their pursuit of their objectives by obstacles: information and assets stored out of attain of all however a number of, in addition to assumptions about who is perhaps an entrepreneur and the place they may come from. And whereas it’s understood that beginning your individual enterprise is a troublesome street — notably within the age of COVID, the place many small companies are struggling to remain afloat — it’s to the betterment of all that extra folks ought to have the instruments out there to them to attempt their hand at a startup.

Enter Nicole Loftus, the founding father of The Resource Hub, a nationwide listing for small companies, in addition to SkinX, a funding platform for entrepreneurs, each New York primarily based. She’s working to assist entrepreneurs succeed, together with over 3,500 assets on the Useful resource Hub and including new ones repeatedly.

Nicole has a powerful resume as an creator, speaker and visitor school member at a number of establishments, together with Northwestern College Kellogg Faculty of Administration. She has additionally served on quite a few boards similar to The American Pink Cross, and The Chicago Workforce Funding Council (CWIC) and has mentored entrepreneurs via The Clinton Basis and The Community for Educating Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Provided that background, it was fascinating to listen to her solutions on what she’s realized from her personal expertise as she tries to assist different founders on their journeys. 

Young woman working on desktop computer at home

Younger girl engaged on desktop laptop at dwelling

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Mary Juetten: When did you begin your corporations?

Nicole Loftus: In 2013 I walked out of my very own firm that was bringing in $40M per 12 months and was Inc. 500 #8, to tackle a mission to construct a greater mannequin for funding entrepreneurs, creating jobs and equalizing alternatives in America.

The mannequin was constructed by 2015, the tech construct began in 2017 — together with The Useful resource Hub — and now we’re able to launch to the general public in 2021.

Juetten: What drawback are you fixing?

Loftus: Three prongs:

  • Entrepreneurs want help now greater than ever.  
  • The nation has hundreds of free assets for entrepreneurs to get assist launching, constructing and funding their companies.  Entrepreneurs haven’t any approach to discover them.  
  • The system for supporting entrepreneurs is constructed and run by white guys in three states shutting out the opposite 47 states and entrepreneurs who aren’t white guys. 
  • We constructed the primary ever nationwide listing of native assets for entrepreneurs. 

    These organizations are funded by taxpayers and they’re the job creators of the nation.  

    The Useful resource Hub helps organizations that help entrepreneurs which might be girls, minorities, veterans, disabled, LGBTQ and able-bodied white guys. 

    Juetten: Who’re your clients and the way do you discover them?

    Loftus: Our potential clients are each entrepreneur and wannabe entrepreneur within the U.S. 

    Juetten: How did previous initiatives and/or expertise assist with this new mission?

    Loftus: I used to be raised in a blue-collar Italian household the place girls are nonetheless taught to make infants and spaghetti, not multi-million-dollar companies that disrupt multi-billion-dollar industries.  I took a special path.  It was the free assets in Chicago that made me an entrepreneur (The Ladies’s Enterprise Growth Middle and The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce).

    I constructed my enterprise to $40 million a 12 months with 50+ staff and disrupted a $20 billion-dollar business all with angel traders and financial institution loans.  When the time got here to lift enterprise capital I had no thought how predatory the system was, particularly in Illinois, one of many 47 states shut out of enterprise capital.  The vulture capitalists took management of my firm, prevented any new cash from coming in and compelled me out.  After I realized this occurs daily to tens of millions of entrepreneurs and that this damaged system is the best driver of inequality in America, I made a decision to alter the sport.  

    Juetten: Who’s in your group?

    Loftus: Good, confirmed leaders like Dr. Jasmin Sethi, who has a PhD in Economics and a legislation diploma from Harvard; Anna Belyaev, a tremendous technologist that began on the Nationwide Middle for Supercomputing; and Anna Rode, Susan Dumont and my mentor Christie Hefner, former CEO of Playboy Enterprises.

    Juetten: Did you increase cash?

    Loftus: I raised $2 Million – solely debt and solely from family and friends.  I cannot take cash from enterprise capitalists once more.  After we’re executed launching Pores and skin, no entrepreneur will ever should once more. 

    Juetten: How do you measure success and what’s your favourite success story?

    Loftus: The one measure for achievement is freedom, particularly for girls and minorities:  Freedom to decide on a life you need, to dwell the place you need, to be single, to have kids or not don’t have kids.

    Juetten: Any ideas so as to add for early-stage founders?

    Loftus: 

  • Have interaction your free native assets.
  • Spend extra time selecting an investor than you do selecting your partner; there’s no divorcing a nasty VC as soon as they’re in what you are promoting.
  • Analysis your VC’s, meet their different portfolio corporations; ensure they’re a match on your firm.
  • Grow to be a authorized knowledgeable in all of the language VC’s love to make use of – find out about block rights, liquidation preferences, pari passu, drag alongside, and so forth.
  • Juetten: And naturally, any IP horror tales to share?

    Loftus: Earlier than I knew to not tackle companions and that co-founders by no means work, I took on a companion.  It didn’t work.  She didn’t work as exhausting, wasn’t as dedicated and was a basic nightmare. I let her take the entire firm, all our IP, our model, the url, the corporate identify…EVERYTHING.

    I went and began over once more.  She by no means did something with it.   

    IP isn’t price something with out the blood, sweat, tears to make the concepts into actuality. 

     Juetten: What is the long-term imaginative and prescient on your firm?

    Loftus: SkinX is a long-term financial initiative supposed to construct a sustainable infrastructure for the best way companies are funded for hundreds of years to return. It’s full-participation capitalism. It’s the renewed American Dream.

    Because of Nicole for her perception; I hope her dream of a extra inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem comes true. #onwards.