Victor Saad wanted an MBA.
But as a middle school pastor with a heart for the nonprofit world, he didn’t want to take out a school loan that would take him the better part of his career to pay back. A six-figure salary wasn’t likely in his cards anytime soon.
And so he created the Leap Year Project – a 12-month plan to fully immerse himself in 12 different apprenticeships in design, business and social change. A self-made, experience-driven MBA of sorts. He asked others to join him by taking leaps of their own and recording them, stories he has since compiled and published in a beautiful coffee table book.
His goal is to encourage and empower people to be students again, using education to encourage positive change.
Saad, now 27, is using his own experience as a blueprint for the Experience Institute – an educational program that encourages experiential learning and mentorship and cultivates entrepreneurs and other world changers. He wants the institute to propagate job makers that respond to human needs, create solutions and offer services that help people better serve and care for those around them.
If all goes according to plan, he will have created a lifelong pursuit that … Read More »
Amy Wyatt is tired.
She started the Little Bird Bakery in 2010, and has since maintained a schedule so demanding that it’s not unusual to hear her say things like “I got to sleep in till 6 a.m.”
Rest deprived as she may be, Wyatt is still baking pastries that make Europeans jealous, as evidenced by the packed seating area and long lines of devout regulars. On Mondays, when Little Bird is closed, it’s not uncommon to see people walking away defeated from the locked door, cursing under their breath.
I worked at Little Bird for the first six months it was open, and have witnessed from both sides of the counter its evolution from the mysterious new kid in town to an integral part of the Fort Collins culture.
I met up with Wyatt last week to ask her a few questions about the differences between then and now, and what keeps her getting out of bed to bake cookies when it’s still dark out.
Do you still love to bake?
I do. I do still really enjoy it. I wish I didn’t have to do it so many hours, but I do still love it.
I’m in the kitchen about 70 … Read More »
(This is the third in a series on local entrepreneurs.)
Just over three years ago, Vince Black moved to Fort Collins from North Dakota to start a church.
Twelve people gathered in his living room for that first service, including his wife and four boys, who didn’t really have a choice.
Today, the congregation at The Town Church is made up of his wife, five boys and on any given Sunday, roughly 180 other people – more or less all there by choice. And judging by the number of pregnant women in attendance, the growth trend shows no sign of abating.
While some churches may call it hospitality instead of customer relations or outreach instead of marketing, there are certainly parallels between the business and church realm. And while Vince is quick to credit God for the growth, he undoubtedly developed some entrepreneurial acumen in the process of church planting.
He shared with me a little bit more about starting a church and where his faith and creativity have collided.
What aspects of starting a church are similar to starting a business? Did you receive training for the business-related side of things (marketing, accounting, administration, etc.) before you started the Town? If so, what … Read More »
(This is the second in a series of profiles on local entrepreneurs.)
The first time David Sutton roasted his own coffee beans, it was on a BBQ grill.
The young pastor loved coffee, and he loved the process of making coffee even more. So when he heard he could roast his own at home, Sutton bought a few pounds of green coffee beans and set to work at the barbecue, roasting the very first of the thousands of batches to come. And to his great surprise, that first cup wasn’t half bad.
Sutton has come a long way since those days at the grill. Today he is the owner and founder of The Coffee Registry, a craft coffee roastery and delivery service in Fort Collins. He is also the roaster, delivery guy, accountant, repairman and janitor. Between being a pastor, a father, a business owner and a roaster, he works weekends and nights and holidays. He sometimes gets to the shop at 5 a.m. on a Saturday after only three hours of sleep to roast beans for the day’s farmers’ markets, which he’ll then spend all day brewing and serving. He has no pension, no health benefits (besides what he gets … Read More »
(This is the first in a series of profiles on local entrepreneurs.)
David Chan is a man with a plan. Ten or 12 of them, more accurately.
I’m not sure how I first met him – he is one of those people that in a town the size of Fort Collins, most people just know. But before I interviewed the 27-year-old serial entrepreneur for a piece I did for Relevant Magazine a few months ago, the only thing I knew about his actual job was that he made small, delicious pies and seemed passionate about bags for ultimate Frisbee.
As it turns out, David doesn’t make those pies anymore (at least not professionally) but he does wear quite a few other hats (and, for the record, blue sambas with gold stripes) for quite a few other companies, many of which are his own creation.
The Northern Arizona University MBA graduate has started 11 companies, five of which he is still actively involved in. They range from a custom bowtie business to a biomedical engineering company, and the majority of his work is online. The only consistencies in his average day are a shower and three eggs. After that, it’s a gamble.
I had the privilege of … Read More »