Growing as an Entrepreneur in Residence, a Message from Abu Kamara

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During the Fall of last year, I was stuck. I graduated in May and had been looking for employment while working on my startup simultaneously. Mentally, this was not easy. After receiving tons of responses from employers stating that I was “overqualified for this position” or that they “are not able to offer a position at this time”, I lost hope in trying to provide myself with financial security. I found that I had to learn to leverage my connections. Special thanks to Hope Vega, Susan Green, Salome Thomas-El, Denita Henderson, John Himics, and of course Garry Johnson, for assisting me in my search.

In December, Garry sent me an offer letter for a position as Entrepreneur In Residence for 3 months. I had never said yes to anything so quickly.

But these last few months were not only about helping Garry and getting paid to do that. In being present at the planning table, posting on social media, and reaching out to people, I learned more than I ever have in such a short period of time. I developed my own startup’s mission statement and understood the value of having that statement serve as a guide. I found out how I can run my startup in a more organized fashion. I was able to dig deep, flex my creative muscle, uncover my undiscovered interests, and finally answer a tough question: Where do I see myself in five, ten years?

From a bird’s eye view, I went into the EIR position looking to fulfill tasks part time, so I can work on my startup and survive financially. Out came a Venture For America fellow, a finalist of two pitch competitions (one of which rewarded my startup with $1,000), a founder that made an essential pivot, a multi-faceted creative now with a colorful portfolio, a media and podcast producer, and ultimately an individual that has a little more direction in what he wants to do with his life. 

I call this the First Founders effect. Thank you Garry, Kemba, and all of the First Founders community!

Abu Kamara,
Entrepreneur In Residence
(Winter ‘21)


Community News

  • Join First Founders for our weekly Community Sessions each Wednesday from 7pm-9pm ET. This is a casual time to get your startup questions answered, practice your pitch, and connect with the entire community. Each session is free & open to all who want to join in. Register Here!

  • Congratulations to Autumn of Proxie Detroit for celebrating their 1-year anniversary! “It’s crazy to think I started this community with no money and no roadmap. My business had just shut down due to the pandemic and it was clear that we weren’t going to be able to come back for a long time. I started Proxie just with my laptop on an old TV tray in my childhood bedroom with a goal to support Black women entrepreneurs across the country. Today, Proxie is a 1600+ community of Black Women across the country with national partnerships and well-renowned resources and services. It’s crazy to think such a small idea has impacted so many business owners for the better.” Follow Proxie on Instagram!

  • Meet André, a trained attorney and legal analyst with experience working in venture capital. Andre has interests in startup law, enjoys the business/transactional side of things, and is passionate about helping underrepresented individuals. Whether you're a founder or not, he's here to answer your questions, so.... ask him anything!


Free Resources & Upcoming Opportunities

  • Black Girl Ventures is on a mission to provide Black/Brown woman-identifying founders with access to community, capital, and capacity building in order to meet business milestones that lead to economic advancement through entrepreneurship.

  • Wefunder takes the pain out of raising money. Raise $50K to $5M from superfans & angel investors who believe in you.

  • The Lightspeed Founder Success Team has designed operating programs and resources to empower founders to build strong foundations to last through all phases of company growth. The resources provided here are designed to support our CEOs navigating challenges, building teams, and searching for needle-moving connections.


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