Entrepreneurship is a very enticing subject in today’s world. We hear of more and more Millennials taking the leap to starting a business and founding/leading a company. There are many different avenues to organizational leadership. One avenue, besides starting a for-profit entity, is creating a non-profit organization. What is the difference between those two organizations? What does it take to start one? These are questions that need answers. So I have decided to ask one young person who has taken the leap of starting his own non-profit. Our discussion will help anyone who is interested in the non-profit world and want more insight into it. Perhaps this interview will push you to take the steps to start your own non-profit.
Meet Joshua Walker. He is the Executive Director of Avenue Music Group (AMG), a non-profit based in Brooklyn. I wanted insight into his world and his journey as a non-profit founder. I asked him some questions that will make us better informed about starting a non-profit.
BYOB: Tell me a little about yourself and how has your background equipped you to be a non-profit entrepreneur?
Walker: I’m 24 years old. I was born and raised in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. I have faith in God. I love to travel. Growing up I did not have the best resources. I was not exposed to a lot of help. I wanted to change that perspective for young people. My background inspired me to bring change and change the mindset of my community.
BYOB: What void did you see that led you to start a non-profit besides the business you already have?
Walker: The void I saw was young people not being prepared for the real world. There is a lack of ownership in the Black and Brown communities.
BYOB: With that said void, why did you start your non-profit?
Walker: I wanted the youth in my community to be equipped for the real world with life skills such as time management, communication skills, networking, etc. I started the program in libraries with music.
BYOB: What are the biggest misconceptions about non-profits?
Walker: There are several misconceptions I have come across about non-profits. One misconception is that it is not a business. It is a business but the money goes back to the non-profit not the owner. Another misconception is that non-profits are supposed to do everything for free and don’t charge for anything. The money goes to the mission of the non-profit, whatever that may be.
BYOB: What are the benefits of running a non-profit?
Walker: Non-profits are mission based. You get to change people’s lives based on your mission and goals of the non-profit. Also, you can get grants that you don’t have to pay back, unlike loans for a for-profit business.
BYOB: What are 3 things you can tell a fellow Millennial who wants to one day start a non-profit
Walker: First, you have to know specifically what you want to do and how you can benefit the population you want to deal with. Second, be unique. So many people are doing the same thing in the non-profit world. What makes you stand out?. Finally, MAKE IT HAPPEN! It is easy to talk about the issues that you want to address, but make your dreams and goals a reality.
To learn more about Joshua’s non-profit, check out the website amger.org. Avenue Music Group (AMG) is always looking for people to volunteer and join the cause.
Twitter – @DhanhaBienAime