Welcome to the Founder Feature Series for 2019, where we chat with the founders of the 7th Cohort of The Mentor Network to learn more about them as individuals, as well as their entrepreneurial journeys. They have great wisdom and experience to share with the rest of the community and could likely use your help as well!
Today, we would like to introduce you to Enam Haddad, Founder of FlexPlay LLC. FlexPlay is a coworking space with a fully licensed childcare concept. A space where parents and caregivers can bring their children 3 months – 6 years to work and actually get work done while building community.
What did you do before you were the Founder of your startup?
I was the lead (Senior Manager) at a non- profit that specializes in higher education management. A core part of my responsibility was developing and implementing scholarship programs, as well as, relationship building with universities, corporations and students.
Why this startup? A.k.a. what is your ‘why’?
My why is very personal. As a work at home parent with three children, I occasionally needed to work out of the house with my toddlers. I was in need of a community and space that provided a flexible place for me to work while my toddlers played and learnt close by. I could not find a place like that locally, so FlexPlay was born.
What was your first milestone/win that let you know you were on the right track to building this business?
Last fall, I submitted a video for the Alt-Cap pitch competition for small businesses. My video was in the top 10 and I won third place in my first pitch competition. That, for me, was validation that FlexPlay is a viable business and meets a need in the community.
Why did The Mentor Network stand out to you as a positive program to be involved with?
I love the connection with fellow start up entrepreneurs and the industry knowledge and network the mentors provide.
What have your big wins been so far within The Mentor Network?
Sharing lessons learnt and candid conversations during the CEO round tables with fellow founders. My mentor has provided a wealth of information and guidance.
How do you maintain sanity in this crazy, insane startup world?
Making a conscious effort daily to focus my energy on the things that I value personally and in my business, nurturing new relationships with people I meet and practicing gratitude. I usually wake up early in the morning so I can meditate, read and organize my priority list for the day. This has really helped me feel less overwhelmed when I look at my constantly growing to do list.
KC has so many resources and people to help entrepreneurs. What are we still missing? What gaps do you think we need to fill?
Funding. Access to early stage funding is an on going challenge for me. In the last few months, there have been more resources and events around early stage funding. I hope to see this continue and include a wider audience.
Regarding the KC startup ecosystem, what has been your favorite service/resource that you would like to share with other founders to take advantage of?
KC has a truly amazing ecosystem for founders. The people in the ecosystem are invested in the success of the startups they work with and this is evident in all they do and how the interact, teach and guide. I love working with so many of the resource providers including KCSourcelink, 1 Million Cups and of course the Sprint Accelerator.
If you could go back to the day you started this journey and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?
Take it in stride. All experiences good and bad are a learning opportunity.