The entrepreneurship experience is unique. It can be tough to articulate to your family. It’s hard to explain to friends. So, when you get in the same room as a dozen other entrepreneurs who just “get it” – you can expect a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Tony Scurry said it best during his speech at the Ascend Capital Accelerator Launch Event, recently held at the Anacostia Arts Center. As a member of Wacif’s inaugural Ascend Capital Accelerator cohort in 2017, Tony was invited to share his experience with this year’s cohort:
“What the experience taught me is that the success of my business is not exclusively about transactional occurrences. It is about nurturing genuine relationships. Yes, the Ascend Cohort helped me learn and access business resources, but it also put me in a space where I could unintentionally and unapologetically grow my business and brand.”
Wacif’s Ascend Capital Accelerator program has trained and supported entrepreneurs of color since 2017. This year’s Ascend Capital Accelerator: Thrive Cohort is designed to help entrepreneurs of color navigate an emerging marketplace shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue reading Tony’s full speech below.
By Tony Scurry
When I applied for the Ascend Capital Accelerator program in 2017, my intention was to learn about the ways and resources to operate my business; however, it became so much more.
Of course, I learned the ins and outs of how to run a business. But the networking experience was like no other.
Sitting in the classes, I found it oddly comforting to learn that others were facing similar challenges. It didn’t matter whether they were in the service industry like me, a retail business selling products directly to consumers, or had been running a business for 3 years or 7 years – we shared the same stories. And we found creative ways to respond to and resolve the issues at hand, together. We may not have always been right, but the choices we made, and the resolutions we came up with, stayed with us and became lessons for others.
The opportunities to connect and extend the Ascend experience occur every time we stumble upon a cohort mate at their pop-up, reconnect at one of our reunions, or see each other at an event hosted by Wacif. I once ran into a cohort mate in the hallway of my apartment building. After conversing for about 15 minutes, I learned that she had moved into the building, and recently secured permanent placement for some of her jewelry line.
So, when I think about my Ascend experience, I reflect on my ROI . . . Return on Involvement. I don’t know if others share this part of my story, but I’ve been fortunate to receive business as a result of networking through the Ascend Program. Since 2017, I have held two 1-off contracts, and another recurring contract. The program also helped me access clients and industries that may have remained inaccessible otherwise.
What the Ascend experience taught me is that the success of my business is not exclusively about transactional occurrences. It is about nurturing genuine relationships. Yes, the Ascend Program helped me learn and access business resources, but it also put me in a space where I could unintentionally and unapologetically grow my business and brand. I fully believe that if you remain committed to the Ascend Program and are honest with yourself, your cohort mates, and your instructors, you will gain much in return.
About Tony Scurry:
Tony is a highly motivated individual with over fifteen (15) years of strategic event and meeting planning experience. Given his career focus on increasing the visibility of mission driven organizations; his experience, skills, personality, and aspirations, fit the position entrepreneur. He is responsible for overseeing the creative and strategic direction of 7 Pointe Planning and providing a strategic framework for the conceptualization and execution of the clients’ operations. He firmly believes that the events his company develops provide participants with a sense of dignity and worth for the services they provide. Through events, he is improving the service experience of workers and lives of individuals.
Tony successfully made a transition from Mechanical Engineering to Event Planning with the support of a Master of Business Administration degree, with a concentration in Events Management, from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
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