As a company that was founded by an ambition entrepreneur, Aplos has a special place in its heart for organizations that use technology to empower communities and educate the youth. I’d like to introduce you to an organization that’s doing just that. I had the privilege of interviewing Jessica Boyd, Executive Director of Community Venture Foundation, who offered a lot of really great advice for fellow nonprofits and shared some of her personal struggles. Take a few minutes to learn more about her organization and how they are making a huge impact in their Arkansas communities!
What problems were you hoping to solve when you started your nonprofit?
Community Venture Foundation was started with the hopes of contributing to the growth of the burgeoning entrepreneurial community in Northwest Arkansas. More specifically, we wanted to find a way to empower underserved communities in our region through entrepreneurship education, given the resources we have here.
What is your ultimate goal/vision for your nonprofit?
Within the context of our mission of building the entrepreneurial community, our primary goal is to use entrepreneurship as a tool for social and economic empowerment, starting with the youngest generations in our community. Over the next 5 years, we plan to expand our youth programs to offer more variety and reach more students, as well as add programs for underserved adult entrepreneurs, including programs for ex-offenders.
What are the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome?
Funding. One of the biggest hurdles for any nonprofit. The hardest part is running programs and finding funding to support them, since finding funding can be a full time job. One thing that has been easier for us than some other nonprofits is creating awareness about what we do in our community; we have an amazing group of partners and supporters in our community, which makes a huge difference.
What advice would you share with other nonprofits?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It’s likely that – like me – you probably don’t have experience in every aspect of running a nonprofit. But that’s OK, you will learn a lot as you go. You will make mistakes. But you’ll figure out how to fix them, and you’ll surround yourself with passionate individuals who are willing to help you. Ultimately, keep your mission close and success will follow.
Tell us one thing the public wouldn’t know about your nonprofit?
We are really passionate about helping people in our community. On the surface, it just looks like we have some cool programs and a great mission, but our people care deeply about the success of everyone in our community, and are committed to helping everyone – especially underserved groups – to succeed. We believe that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education are powerful ways to do this.