The Homeless Entrepreneur pilot project grew out of my experience with the Community Investment Collaborative (CIC) in Charlottesville, VA. I took the class, which teaches would-be entrepreneurs how to start their own business in 2015. I wanted to have a more well-rounded understanding of what it means to start a business, because although I got off the streets and out of living in my van in 2007, I couldn’t quite maintain a job because of health reasons.
In 2009, after speaking at TED Global about my time being homeless in 2006 and 2007, I returned home only to realize I was once again homeless. So I started a business. And it changed my life. I realized then the power of being in control of your own life through owning a business, rather than working for one.
In 2016, right before I graduated from CIC, I wrote a book, The Homeless Entrepreneur. I graduated from CIC’s program, and partnered with my instructor, David Durovy, to create a program geared for teaching the homeless what we both knew about business. In the past David has been Inc.’s Entrepreneur of the Year two years in a row. He also has experience and a love for the homeless. We went to The Haven, a day shelter for the homeless in Charlottesville, Virginia, to pitch this pilot program, which begins in October 2016. If successful, we plan to work with neighboring cities and towns to start similar programs.
NPR will be following our efforts and as they post links to their stories, we’ll post them here as well.
We’ll also be video taping the classes, and offering podcasts, interviews and stories about the participants.
Thank you for taking time to read about us, and to support us any way you can. We’re looking for business sponsors, mentors and anyone interested in ensuring these men and women complete the 8-10 week program and either launch a business, or develop the tools to do so.