Courtney currently serves as the Co-Founder of SEED SPOT, a nonprofit incubator supporting Arizona’s most innovative social entrepreneurs. Previously, Courtney served as the Co-Founder & CEO of New Global Citizens; a nonprofit working to empower young people to create social change that has a presence in 14 states, 30 countries, and holds a $1M endowment at the Arizona Community Foundation.
In 2013, the Phoenix Business Journal named Courtney as one of the “25 Most Dynamic Women in Business”. In 2011, Courtney was recognized by Splashlife Magazine as one of the nation’s top 30 Civic Leaders under the age of 30. Previously she was recognized by various media outlets as one of Arizona’s “35 Entrepreneurs under 35”, one of “20 Woman to Change Arizona by 2020” and was profiled as one of Arizona’s most intriguing Chief Executives.
We welcome Courtney Klein to the Womenpreneur : Strategies for Success Podcast!
Courtney completed the Ironman triathlon. She was dedicated and driven and she trained for it while she was working on a start-up. Courtney says that helped her focus on her venture.
What does social entrepreneurship mean to you?
Courtney believes in the power of ideas to change the world.
If you are going to grind it out why not do it for something that can change the world.
Social entrepreneurs see issues differently. Issues that were not solved at all or solved by charity organisations or governments, social entrepreneurs use the current technology to solve issues.
Social entrepreneurs look at challenges in society and identify opportunities to build a company and a solution around it.
Are millennials leading the pack in social entrepreneurship?
90% of the millennials want to work for or be a part of a socially conscious community.
There is a generational shift.
Millennials are not driven by the 9-5 or incetivized by the 401K
It is a good thing if can use the entitlement to build something meaningful.
Even as consumers, they are more cognizant of the quality of the product and the values of the company they are buying from.
It’s more of the millennial mindset and not just an age thing.
What drives social entrepreneurs beside passion?
Courtney gives a great analogy of a rasberry seed stuck in the back molar. It’ easy for non entrepreneurs to pick it out with a toothpick versus the entrepreneurs. For entrepreneurs a problem is like a raspberry seed stuck in the back molar. They will try and find a way to get the seed out and make it come to life.
SeedSpot is a non profit organization and they make it a requirement amongst their funders that their check comes with their expertise.
Fundraising for Courtney is building a relationship.
When #fundraising, if there is an alignment with the #investors, the it is an easy ask. #startup…
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What are the important things that tick in fundraising?
Belief in yourself and your dream. How much do you want your idea to come to life?
Biggest accomplishment for SeedSpot?
They do measure the metrics, jobs created, capital raised etc. but what really counts is the individual stories that come to life.
For @seedspot it is the individual stories that come to life. #nonprofit #incubator #phoenix
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An example of 27years old, high functioning Autistic Matt Cottle started the Stuttering King Bakery.
Listen to Matt pitch at SeedSpot
Another example is of Gene and her husband made filters for drains so that toxic chemicals don’t go down the drain. When her husband passed, she went to Seedspot for help.
The journey along the way, the wins, the education, the investor, the check and that’s the passion of Seedspot
How far do you help entrepreneurs?
They help entrepreneurs at every stage of the start-up and early operations.
Help with the building blocks like identify the customer, build a budget, marketing strategy, channels,
Help their students do you have something that is viable, or change course or find out if something is not there.
What are the skills that entrepreneurs should have or develop?
High tolerance for risk.
High tolerance for risk, aptitude and acceptance of failure #skills of an #entrepreneur
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Be ok with failure. Aptitude and acceptance of failure.
The ability to network and build relationships. Follow through.
It is a churn and you have to be comfortable with it. Hours are intense by function.
Be ale to be a magnet, get to the point succinctly, be open to feedback. good listeners and will take feedback interesting.
It is a roller coaster especially in the beginning. Constant ability to believe that it is ok. when the door closes, start looking for the windows. Look for creative ways to find another way to get into the house. It becomes a game.
The ability and desire to find the window or multiple windows
What is your success factor?
Other people. Courtney works with a great team, mentors, community. X-factor is other people for Courtney.
Collective effort of a lot of people.
Being intentional about who we are and not let anyone take you away from your path.
What was your biggest hurdle in building a brand?
What is your story? Define our outcomes based on revenue growth. What defines Seedspot success is all about the success stories.
What is your one piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
Dream big. Think big, go for it. Don’t look back.
For seedspot they live their mantra everyday, they are taking on new products. Other cities, high school programs, impact fund.
What trophy would you want on your mantle?
Champion for dreamers.
What is your guilty Pleasure?
Vegan chai latte coconut milk.
What are you currently reading?
Social impact investment fund. Impact investing.
What is your productivity hack?
To do lists.
What is your personal motto?
What would you do differently, if you were given another chance?
Push harder, faster. Be more bullish out the gates.