Shememe Williams knew there was a problem at her workplace.
The founder and CEO of My Active Senior came up with the idea for her business following several years of managing senior facilities. She realized that many resources for seniors come through antiquated systems, despite advancements in technology that created easier methods for people to get connected.
“Those bulletin boards were disgusting,” Williams said. “Most of them don’t have…social media at all. So I said, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll make you have an online presence.’”
My Active Senior, founded in 2015, provides a platform for seniors and their adult children to connect with local senior resources, activities, housing, technology and transportation.
Though Williams had potential for a solid business, she knew she had to learn how to grow her business.
At the beginning of 2019, she was accepted into SEED SPOT’s Impact Accelerator in D.C at the beginning of the year. The eight-week program, which is one of the organization’s programs supporting social entrepreneurs, provides founders with access to resources, mentors, business fundamentals, capital sources and community partners in order to support business growth.
Over the course of the accelerator, Williams participated in several pitch events at the Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Center. She said learning how to talk about her business in front of a large audience was one of the most helpful experiences she had.
“They threw you out there,” Williams said. “If you had any fear, it didn’t matter. You just had to do it, but you get used to being in front of audiences. That was great for me.”
Williams also took advantage of the program’s mentorship pipeline. She said mentors were always readily available to give advice.
“I almost felt like the only person,” Williams said. “I know they have other people here, but I feel like it’s just me. Any time you needed access to talk about something, someone was available. You had so much support.”
SEED SPOT’s diversity among mentors was a massive factor that not only made Williams feel comfortable, but boosted her motivation to become successful as well.
“Being in a space with all these mentors of different races — I’ve never experienced that before in my life,” Williams said. “They were very intentional about being diverse with their staff. It put me in a totally different space in terms of empowerment and being heard and understood. It was just amazing.”
She was able to put together a five-year plan for her business through guidance from her mentors. She said having business people dissect step-by-step how she could grow her business opened her eyes to how she should structure her business.
Moving forward, Williams plans to increase her list of vendors and upgrade her website.
“I always had a financial plan for three years, but we literally broke down how things would look like in five years,” Williams said. “We were not general. It was very specific. You saw more in-depth than a regular business plan.”-30-
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