Redefining Entrepreneurship

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By Karla Amador

Kyle O’Connor believes that the city of Baltimore can be recognized as a place with a phenomenal ecosystem of local, regional, and national entrepreneurs.  

“There’s so much history, passion, and roots, and I see a city with a lot of potential with big ideas and community-oriented mindsets,” he explained.

With his leadership and background skills in graphic design, he started his first business in college.  He later transitioned into a new endeavor when he partnered with Deonn Henderson, Jessica Herbert, and Marcus Howard. They all shared one dream: to create a startup ecosystem for members of the community who lack resources to fulfill their aspirations. The Startup Nest was born.

The Startup Nest has had the opportunity to change the lives of people of color by providing a well-rounded approach to technology, business development, marketing, and branding opportunities. They also offer workshops on leading healthy, productive, and sustainable lives.

“What we’re trying to do is to show that Baltimore is, and will be, one of the most connected and innovative cities in the country over the next few years.”

They’ve grown from a grassroots level and built a facility to collaborate with local companies and government entities to plan initiatives to aid in shifting mentalities. They are the first co-working and incubating space privately owned by entrepreneurs of color. What’s invigorating about this movement is that the founders of the Startup Nest are all serial entrepreneurs.

“We want entrepreneurs to know that we empathize and know what it takes.”

O’Connor and his team also work with the investment community to ensure that entrepreneurs can understand the business standpoint. He believes that now is an exciting time for millennials and entrepreneurs of color because there is a ton of information available which can be streamlined and leveraged to fuel people’s dreams and vision.

“Technology is changing our world, and we’re trying to create a place where people can propel their ideas. One thing our country can do is invest in platforms like this,” said O’Connor. “Without having new and innovative ideas that are nurtured and fostered, there may be long-term effects that will create more challenges.”