Fail Fast, Advocate First

A fundamental driver of innovation is the ability to “fail fast” by effectively navigating obstacles and gaining consensus among diverse perspectives. Local government and public sector stakeholders are often critical, and very influential, parts of this process.

The Innovate Raleigh Advocacy task force will explore this process through the lens of successful Triangle entrepreneurs at our annual summit on November 9th. We’ll learn from:

Attendees will engage in stories from the panelists followed by breakout sessions where we will brainstorm how to effectively navigate advocacy issues, including:

  • Home offices and business licensing, including zoning requirements
  • The sharing economy, including AirBnB, Bike sharing, and the use of public spaces
  • Disruptive technologies, such as aerial drones, cryptocurrencies and driverless vehicles
  • The impacts of our rapidly growing population on affordable housing

We will also be discussing issues and topics raised by our attendees. Add your voice below!

Keep posted here for more Summit previews and interviews and get excited for our 6th Annual event on November 9, 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Register Now!

Connecting the Triangle: Band Together's Rosin and Griffin

Interview by Danny Rosin, Brand Fuel/Band Together), IR Connecting the Triangle Task Force

John Elvis and Danny.jpg

Welcome to the Connecting the Triangle blog series! It’s time we really concentrate on connecting our Triangle. To do that, we need to find ways to meet – and listen – to people different than ourselves.  We have quite a diverse population. And it’s growing at a rapid pace. So much so that we have the privilege, right now, to build a stronger, inclusive community versus homogenized islands of disconnected, possibly misunderstood citizens.  

This series is a lead up to (and needs to grow beyond) the November 9th Innovate Raleigh Summit. And it works like a story chain, where person A interviews person B and blogs about their interaction; then person B interviews person C and blogs on it, and so on.  Our team’s hope is that eventually we’ll create both an in-person relationship building trace and a digital trail through the Triangle that speaks to the rich tapestry of our people and our region.  Worth mentioning – we’d love to see this continue to infinity and beyond!

There’s one more important rule – to encourage more diversity into these offerings, it is critical that the interviewee interview someone of either a different gender or ethnic background.

When an angel comes walking into your door, you find a place for them to join your team. That’s what happened to John Griffin, Brand Fuel’s now Director of First Impressions. John is a well-traveled, opinionated, passionate liberal voice who is always looking for ways to improve our topsy turvy, twisty turny world.

Every day, he reminds us at Brand Fuel of Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata” – the part that reads:

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy. 

And in that same vein, his response about connecting The Triangle is a welcomed view.

John Frank Griffin Jr.

Where were you born? 
Rockingham NC

Where do you live now? 
Durham NC

Where else have you lived? 
Hampton Roads (Norfolk, VA Beach, Newport News, Blackstone), VA; San Diego CA; Anniston, AL; Pirmaseans and Berlin, Germany; El Paso, TX; Rockingham, NC

Where (geographically) do you work?
Morrisville, NC

When you hear the term, “the Triangle,” what do you think of?
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill

How does your current town fit in that bigger picture? 
Right in the center

Looking ahead a few years, what do you see as the biggest challenge we have to overcome in creating a connected and cohesive region? 
Traffic and Road Infrastructure. 

What is one way we can bring The Triangle region together? 
Get an NBA team.

If you had to give the citizens of the Triangle a nickname to unify them, what would it be? DURALEICHAPS…TRICITIANS…

Keep posted here for more Summit previews and interviews and get excited for our 6th Annual event on November 9, 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Register Now!

Spotlight: Sean Patrick Tario of Open Spectrum


by Toya Ogallo, IR Talent Task Force

Sean Patrick Tario is a native Chicagoan turned Silicon Valley Entrepreneur who relocated to Raleigh with his wife and three kids (ages 11, 8 and 4) in 2016.  He is currently the founder of Open Spectrum: a local data center marketplace consulting firm working with buyers, sellers and investors in mission critical infrastructure around the world.  His team has negotiated hundreds of contracts and toured hundreds of facilities across the country. In addition he has developed educational materials that have become the de facto training standard in the industry. 

We sat down for a conversation about what makes Raleigh attractive to talent from other cities, developing a support system, and the biggest challenge facing Raleigh in the coming years.  

Have you always been an entrepreneur?
I left Chicago to go to college in Santa Clara, CA in 1998.  Sophomore year of college some friends and I decided that we wanted to create a start-up because we saw so many people around us doing the same thing: raising money with hair-brained ideas.  We looked at the biggest thing in tech at the time (Amazon)  and decided to frame a business around something we understood very well: college students. We ended up building drop-ship relationships with vendors across the country who were selling things that students needed for their dorm rooms.  That evolved into building white-labeled e-commerce sites and catalogs for universities that had university-approved products for students to purchase. That eventually grew into a media marketing business on college campuses. 

I was with this startup for about 5 years.  When the writing was on the wall that the company was making major changes for the worse, I began developing a business plan for another similar business concept.  I raised the money, but just as I was about to move my family to San Diego for that project, my primary partner backed out.  Right around that time my wife and I found out we were pregnant with our first child, and it became clear I needed a formal health insurance plan to cover the medical bills that would be piling up, so I started rethinking the entrepreneurial lifestyle and went into the “real world” of Corporate America.

I began working for a large software development firm and after a few years eventually became the VP of Sales for a Data Center Company.  After spending time working in, and falling in love with, the Data Center industry my wife and I agreedthat we were financially stable enough to risk striking off on our own, so once again I developed a new business plan that addressed a glaring need I saw in the industry and started my own company.

Along the way I’ve also been very involved in another passion of mine, which is building authentic entrepreneurial communities.  I worked hard in Santa Cruz to start a number of networking groups to get technology folks and business folks in the community together.  We would hold “jellies” which basically involved tech folks swarming a business that would allow them to co-work from their office for the day.  That started a huge movement in Santa Cruz which I am very proud to have been a part of.  

The initiative I’m probably the most proud of, however, was helping found the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. Most people are completely unaware of my work as a catalyst for this organization on campus, but I’ve found it’s simply the nature of what I do best. Getting things started and running is far more exciting for me than managing the project or company once it has legs and starts to build a life of its own. 

How did you end up in Raleigh?
I travel quite a bit for work meeting with clients and conducting training within the high tech commercial real estate space. I wrote the book on buying and selling colocation services within the data center infrastructure industry: the book is thus used as the core of the training we provide the industry.  As I traveled more and more across the country, at one point hitting nearly 25 different cities in one year, it really struck me that the cost of living in the Bay Area was very crazy high and traffic was atrocious relative to nearly every other city I was visiting. At one point my wife and I realized the money we could make selling our home would provide more than enough cash that we could really relocate almost anywhere we wanted.  The nature of my work is also that I can live anywhere so long as I’m near an airport. We started the search and had our pick of cities but Raleigh kept moving to the top of the list.  The big draws for us were not only the cost of living but also the beautiful climate, quality of life, and comparably light traffic!  When we moved my commute went from an hour each way to about 20 minutes.  

I’ve actually convinced several friends to move out here, one from Honolulu and one from the Bay Area.  Another from Denver will be moving within a few months.  Another friend has visited and jokes that he refuses to bring his wife out from California because she would want to move here too.  At this point I believe that once you visit, Raleigh sells itself.  It really does.  It’s the quality of life.  From a value perspective, there is no comparison between the quality of neighborhood and home you have here compared to what is found in the Bay Area.  And if you have kids, there are so many great activities, the wonderful museums (you have to go to the Museum of Life and Science if you haven’t been, it’s fantastic), the beach and mountains are only a few hours away, and we have found the schools to be great.  Unfortunately I’ve learned teachers are not paid nearly enough here, but that’s one thing I would love to work on.

One of our Team member, Emily Diaz recently said that it’s natural for an entrepreneur to become interested in politics because you have a core belief that you can effect things and make a difference.  Would you agree with that statement?
Yes, I actually view politicians as being no different than entrepreneurs.  At the end of the day, as an entrepreneur, what you are selling more than anything else is yourself.  You are getting people to trust your vision.  And politicians need to do the same thing.  In many cases both spend most of their time raising money!  I’ve always been involved and interested in effecting change and I currently lobby on behalf of my industry in DC.  I would say that a key reason entrepreneurs get involved in politics is because they have the bravado and the belief that they can effect change.  If you’re going to be able to effect change and you have a compass that steers you towards a political issue, you say “If I can do it on a professional level then I can do it on a public level too”.  And it’s the truth: one thing I learned early on is the people who get their opinions heard are the ones that show up. If your voice isn’t at the table then it simply isn’t being heard.

Have you been able to find a good support system here?
Actually, yes.  I naturally love networking and seek out people to understand their perspectives.  When I moved to Raleigh I wanted to understand who were the people making things happen and what are their motivations.  I quickly found people of like heart and mind.  

I have gotten involved with the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic and its mentorship program where I serve as a mentor for students.  I have met other entrepreneurs through that forum and became good friends with former students.  I also work with the NC District Export Council which is focused on helping NC business export internationally.   

Also, as a parent I find that you often meet close friends in your neighborhood through your kids.  Out of the 50 or so homes in my neighborhood I’d estimate that less than 10% of folks in his neighborhood are from Raleigh.  That’s great from the standpoint that fellow transplants tend to be very social and open to making new friendships.  

What’s your vision for Raleigh?
Raleigh is poised to do some amazing things.  But one of the lessons that I learned in the bay area is that once cities start to do extremely well, you attract the attention of outside interests.  And what is in the best interest of those entities is not necessarily in alignment with what is in the best interest of the local community.  One timely example is Amazon’s HQ2 Request For Proposals, which is going on right now.  Amazon is looking for a second Headquarters which would hire up to 50,000 full-time employees andis forecast to spend more than $5 Billion in capital expenditures.  That is potentially a very attractive opportunity.  

However, even given the advantages, you still need to ask the hard questions.   What are the long-term implications of having a corporation of that magnitude headquartered here?  Is there infrastructure to support it?  How will having a campus of that size affect the quality of life for residents in the vicinity?  I’m not saying I would be against it!  The point is that these are complicated issues that need to be intelligently weighed and approached strategically. And you have to go much deeper than the surface level of the story to think through what the real issues are. I am seeing countless examples like this play out here.

In the past I’ve been a part of communities who have dealt with many of these same issues.  So, I’m very aware of the paradigm and the importance of engaging the right people in the right conversations who have the right intentions and motivations.  That’s the conversation that I’m most interested in, for Raleigh, at this moment in time.  And that’s why I feel blessed to be here in Raleigh at this juncture, so that I can leverage my experiences to help avoid pitfalls that could be a long term detriment to the community, the city and the state.  

I have only lived in Raleigh since 2016, but my wife and I are committed to being here long term and watching our kids grow and mature.  We have moved 5 times over the course of our 12 year marriage and we are here now to lay down some deep roots.  We truly believe we are in the house of our dreams, in the neighborhood of our dreams, in an amazing city with limitless potential and opportunity, close to cultural, social and natural things we love to do and we’re not going anywhere. I want to leave a legacy here and make the most of the time we have here.

Keep posted here for more Summit previews and interviews and get excited for our 6th Annual event on November 9, 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Register Now!

Five Questions with Tony Kershaw

by Ryan Portner, Signal Path, IR Education Task Force

Innovation is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “a new idea, method or device”. Around the Triangle, innovation is everywhere. From the highly ranked universities to the more than 400 registered startups, Raleigh-Durham is nationally ranked for the range of innovative contributions our region is making to the world.

In an age of extreme innovation, how do you define it? Does it have to be technology related? On a grand scale? Social media worthy? Have a large impact? To truly consider the definition of innovation, do you have to be considered an entrepreneur to be innovative? Do these two ideas have to be mutually exclusive? Who decides your idea is innovative?

At the 2017 Innovate Raleigh Summit, our session will be centered around defining what each means to you! In our coming blog posts, we will share different perspectives on innovation and entrepreneurship. Check out our first perspective from the Education Task Force's fearless leader, Tony Kershaw, Events and Outreach Manager at NC State.

Why did you join Innovate Raleigh?
I joined the IR task force because I've witnessed the life changing impact thinking entrepreneurially has on people's lives. Entrepreneurs and innovators are always credited with "thinking differently" and I think anyone is capable of doing that with coaching and experience.

In school, Innovation or entrepreneurship meant...
In school, innovation or entrepreneurship meant building a software company.

Now that I’m in the workforce, it means...
Now that I’m in the workforce, it means being a disruptive force to "move the needle" in a new direction. You either improve something that already exists or create something to replace it.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who go above and beyond to realize their dreams and lift people up along the way. I'm inspired by people who grit their teeth and fight for something greater then themselves.

At my current job, I’m innovative by....
At my current job, I'm innovative by asking questions no one else asks and finding answers to them.

Keep posted here for more Summit previews and interviews and get excited for our 6th Annual event on November 9, 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Register Now!

Navigating and Advocating

by Audri Ordelt, Signal Path, IR Advocacy Task Force


Entrepreneurship and innovation have a tightly bound relationship, one often leading to the other, or vice versa. New ideas and technologies are constantly being introduced, leading to rapid change worldwide. The Triangle is a hotbed of innovative business of all sizes, from SAS and Red Hat to small start-ups in a variety of markets.

But what does this mean, when it comes to navigating regulations, policies and laws? What happens when there aren't policies to regulate a new innovation, or a technology changes the way a market is structured, such as AirBnB or Uber?

Business owners and entrepreneurs are driven to advocate for the change necessary to accommodate their companies and ideas. This could be anything from old-fashioned letter writing, attending city council meetings, to social media campaigns and viral videos. 

The Innovate Raleigh Advocacy task force will be exploring this topic during our annual summit on November 9th. Local entrepreneurs and business owners will present their own experiences advocating for their ideas, and share the lessons they've learned. Attendees will have a chance to ask the panelists questions, and participate in small group breakout brainstorming sessions.

Over the next several weeks, look for spotlight posts on our panelists, highlighting their backgrounds, accomplishments and maybe even a tease on what they will be discussing at the Summit. See you there!

Keep posted here for more Summit previews and interviews and get excited for our 6th Annual event on November 9, 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Register Now!

Introducing Connecting the Triangle

Interview by Brett Brenton, RTP, IR Connecting the Triangle Task Force


Welcome to the Connecting the Triangle blog series!  This is the first installment in this series. Our aim is to find ways to bring greater connectivity to the Triangle and to learn a little bit about what makes us all unique citizens of the region.  This is a lead up to (and grow beyond from) the November 9th Innovate Raleigh Summit.

The series will work like a story chain, where person A interviews person B and blogs on it; then person B interviews person C and blogs on it, and so on.  Our hope is that eventually we’ll have a trail through the Triangle that speaks to the rich tapestry of our people and our region.  Worth mentioning – we’d love to see this continue on indefinitely!

There’s one more rule – to encourage more diversity into these offerings, we decided that the interviewee had to interview someone of either a different gender or ethnic background.

For my first entry, I decided to interview someone new to us here at The Frontier.  Caitlin Moss started as our Frontier Community Coordinator a couple months ago.  She is a fairly recent NC State grad originally from outside the region.  I learned a lot about the challenges we are going to have in framing the Triangle as a true region in interviewing her.  These learnings are great

Here’s what she had to say.

Name: Caitlin Moss

Where were you born? 
Virginia Beach, VA

Where do you live now?
Durham, NC not far from Brier Creek

Where (geographically) do you work?
At The Frontier in Research Triangle Park

When you hear the term, “the Triangle”, what do you think of?
I used to think of it as tech companies and the universities that connect it when I was in college. Now I think of the cities that unite the Triangle.  It’s tricky because I never thought of it much at all until I entered the working world a couple years ago.  When I moved here, I just thought of it as Raleigh.  That felt like the best identifier.  Now though, I say the Triangle or RTP.

How does your current town fit in that bigger picture?
When I moved here, I didn’t see Raleigh and Durham as being different, but now I spend a lot of time in each due to the location.  My neighborhood is half in Wake and half in Durham so we’re true hybrids.

Looking ahead a few years, what do you see as the biggest challenge we have to overcome in creating a connected and cohesive region?
The college rivalries make it interesting, so uniting them would be a big hurdle.  When people enter the workforce from college, they have to surrender some of that identity.  That helps.  To be honest, I haven’t thought about uniting the areas too much.  Now being in the workforce, it is something that is more prevalent and obvious to me.  That said, the university to work transition may create our biggest opportunity to unify the region.

If you had to give the citizens of the Triangle a nickname to unify them, what would it be?
That’s a tough one.  How many –ites and –ians can we have?

Keep posted here for more Summit previews and interviews and get excited for our 6th Annual event on November 9, 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Register Now!

Parked with Josh Cohen

by Josh Cohen, TransLoc, IR Quality of Life Task Force

IR Summit2016_13 copy.jpg

In the summer of 1997, half of my life ago, I sublet an apartment off of Gorman and worked as an intern for then-Wake County Manager Richard Stevens.  Though I’ve been in the Triangle for 18 years, those two hot months in Raleigh are the only time I’ve lived in our state’s capital.

Back then, things in Raleigh were quieter.  The old Raleigh Convention Center dominated the southern end of Fayetteville Street, which was still a pedestrian mall. The skyline didn’t bear a Red Hat or the green windows of PNC Plaza.  The Hartford Whalers had just become the Carolina Hurricanes, though they wouldn’t call Raleigh home for another two years.  

In 1997, Raleigh had a little more than half of the number of citizens it has now. Sure, parking could still be a pain, but nothing like it is now at certain times of day and certain parts of downtown. Congestion at that time was particularly bad heading west to Chapel Hill, not north on recently-opened 540.   

Mobility in Raleigh has come a long way since then, giving us the R Line, over 100 miles of greenways, Walk Your City, and the Barrel Monster. It’s also given us the Hillsborough Street road diet, Snowpocalypse on Glenwood, and Fortify. Like I imagine it has for others, those 20 years have gone quickly. The next 20 years will as well, which means we need to start working today on the area’s parking and transportation challenges.  

City decks are getting full and many elements of the Wake County Transportation Plan won’t kick in for years, though residents can benefit from increased bus service that has already hit the streets. But as the area continues to appear on seemingly-endless “best of” lists, what can we do today with transportation and parking to creatively help downtown businesses and restaurants stay accessible and vibrant?

Even with changes we make today, we also need to think about what we want tomorrow’s parking and transportation in Raleigh to look like. The streets--not the the famous oaks in her parks--are Raleigh’s single largest shared space. How do we want to use that space? What space should we allocate to pedestrians, cyclists, transit, special events like farmers markets and street fairs, and cars?

We’ll talk about these topics and more at the 6th Annual Innovate Raleigh Summit on November 9th at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Please join us and help us think through Raleigh’s mobility challenges and opportunities for today and tomorrow.  

Keep posted here for more Summit previews and interviews and get excited for our 6th Annual event on November 9, 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Register Now!

Spotlight: Concetta Rand of IFund Women

Interview by Alysse Campbell, Myriad Media, IR Funding Task Force

Crowdfunding is here to stay. From products and films to equity investments, crowdfunding has been accepted as legitimate fundraising strategy and a strong measure of viability for ideas across the world.

While it's simple to start a crowdfunding campaign, it's much harder to spread your message, keep up momentum and ultimately hit your goal. But iFundWomen is here to help. Concetta Rand, Chief Revenue Officer of iFund Women explains, “We consider ourselves the go to resource for women with brilliant ideas.” The Triangle cohort is providing coaching and tested strategies to help local women with great business and creative ideas raise money.

“There's an opportunity for everyone, every business at every stage, to get something out of a successful crowdfund. We see people everyday use it in new and different ways to generate awareness to drive specific new product launches.”

Concetta talked with me through rewards crowdfunding and a few local campaigns that are active now. To learn more about rewards-based and equity-based crowdfunding, join us at the Innovate Raleigh Summit on November 9th.

Tell me more about iFundWomen. What brought you to the triangle?
We are a crowdfunding platform for women-led startups and small businesses. We support early stage female entrepreneurs and creators raising money to launch or grow their businesses and consider ourselves the go-to resource for women with brilliant ideas. We started in November of 2016 and we'll drive well over a million dollars in funding for hundreds of female entrepreneurs in year one. We really are just getting started. Our mission is to close the funding and the confidence gap for female entrepreneurs.


Chapel Hill kept coming up on our radar, and the Triangle more broadly because of the incredible quality of life, the innovative startup culture, and really frankly just how collaborative people that we came in contact with here were.  iFundWomen has done these local activations; we did the first one in Nashville. We bring together local leaders, like mayors, who care about the local economy of a region and the entrepreneurs and the people who care about their own local economy and the small businesses that make up those communities. We bring them together to create an actual local cohort of female-led companies. We are in the process of putting that together for the Triangle right now. We've had amazing partnership from Pendo and Red Hat, as well as HQ Raleigh and Mayor McFarlane's office to bring iFundWomen Raleigh/Durham to life. That cohort is active now.

Why does iFundWomen use crowdfunding as its funding model?
Crowdfunding is deeply embedded in our DNA. Our founder, Karen Cahn, is a former Google/YouTube executive. Her first startup actually did a crowdfunding campaign. They've been through the experience first hand. There are people on our team that are professional crowdfunders themselves. Coming out of that they felt like, "Wow. There really wasn't a lot of support along the way." There were some things about platforms that they felt like they could build more flexibly to really meet the needs of entrepreneurs. That's kind of how iFundWomen came to be. It's all about building and nurturing an exclusive community of female entrepreneurs and building a supportive entrepreneurial network.

You mentioned that iFundWomen provides a comprehensive strategy and services to support the women. When it comes down to it and you're actually executing the campaign, trying to rally investors and keep the buzz up, what are your go to best practices?
We really want to prepare people to go into a crowdfund with a realistic goal, with a well thought out strategy, with rewards planned and targeted to specific segments, interest groups and individuals.

We have a very detailed campaign guide on our site that maps out all of the ways in which you want to be thoughtful in planning your campaign. That starts with our story. What is your pitch? Why are you the person that is launching this campaign? What is the problem that you see and what qualifies you to solve it, and what are you looking to raise funds to do? What are you going to do with that money? That's your story. That's the pitch for your video.

We really want people being confident and telling their story and being unafraid to go out and advocate for what it is that they're building so that they can reach their funding goals.

Then there will be a plateau, some point in the campaign where things kind of level off. Just being prepared for that ahead of time, and reaching out to other women through our iFundWomen network to know you're not alone in this journey. We know first hand that entrepreneurship can be very lonely so we want to create resources in the form of peer coaches as well as our own coaching staff to help people through that process and that times. We see that it works. We see alumni stick around to encourage and advocate and share the stories of women who are crowdfunding now, even well after their campaigns are done. We're very, very proud of that.

Let's talk about some of the local campaigns.
The mix of businesses in the triangle is extraordinary. It's no surprise to us that we have everything from film to blockchain technology to day spas. It's an incredible array of companies on the site. Let's talk about a couple of them...


The Birds and The Bees
We have Benji Jones with her daughter Audrey Jones. They are doing a short film about a sixth grade girl and her quest to uncover the secret behind the birds and the bees.

It's our first mother daughter team. We are so, so excited to have them on the site. They have some incredible rewards right now where you can have producing credits on the film, director credits on the film, and really be a part of bringing that to life. We hadn't even envisioned how a mother daughter team could come to the site so we were very thrilled to have them be a part of our cohort.

We also have Sandra K Johnson, who's doing a blockchain app called geeRemit. We are incredibly, incredibly excited about Dr. Johnson's campaign, and excited to have a leader of her caliber and an entrepreneur of her experience on our platform.

She's one of the first African American women to earn a PHD in Electrical Engineering. She's a master inventor with over 40 issued and pending patents. She's the first African American woman to reach a technical leadership position and IBM, and part of the team that developed the prototype for Deep Blue, the world famous chess machine that IBM had. She has credentials and experience far beyond what I could list right now, but she's got 35 years of technology experience, 26 of which were with IBM before she founded her own technology company.

Tribe Maternity
Tribe Maternity offers maternity sports clothes, and every purchase helps another mother in need worldwide. Lindsay MacDiarmada  just finished the Ironman Triathlon when she learned that she was pregnant. She was working out and felt like really all of her workout clothes started to pull and chafe when she first got pregnant. Basically, three years later, nothing had changed. She tried to figure out her own way of building this business. A really critical part of the Tribe Maternity business model has been to give back. They have processes that are incredibly lean and free of waste that enable them to actually pay it forward and give their, share help with other mothers in need worldwide.

They have a campaign that's live right now. She's got all of her clothes available for sale right now. She's got their first line of pants, shorts, and capris. On the site, you're able to purchase rewards that will go towards either discounts off of the clothing, water bottles, t-shirts, and all kinds of amazing products and rewards that support Tribe Maternity's mission to grow their business.


Then we have Vivian Ellis. She is absolutely amazing. You were talking about how do you go to market smartly? Vivian is absolutely the template for that. She has been talking about her campaign weeks ahead of actually launching.

Her business is called Adayra. It's a nail salon that works with podiatrists to provide preventative pedicures for diabetics, cancer patients, people who need advanced level of care but still want to be able to enjoy health and wellness and beauty treatment. She has created a medi nail salon that specializes in pedicures and manicures customized to your specific need. She's been doing this for 25 plus years, has an unbelievable background and expertise in the space and there is nothing today that exists like Adayra.

She has a campaign running right now to get her first salon opened and you can go ahead and purchase manicures and pedicures on the site as well as pre-purchase discounts for a series of treatments.

These campaigns sound fantastic.
All of the businesses and all of the entrepreneurs on our site are just doing extraordinary things, and it's really humbling to get to be a part of their journey.

We really believe in the power of these local cohorts. We've seen their ability to create both immediate and persistent economic impact. We are incredibly excited to be bringing together entrepreneurs of this caliber and shining a light on the amazing work that the women of this region are doing, the businesses that they're building. We're really just getting started.

To learn more about IFund Women and their amazing network of resources, visit

Keep posted here for more Summit previews and interviews and get excited for our 6th Annual event on November 9, 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  Register Now!