Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jaana Rehnstrom, Founder of The Kota Alliance, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Kota Alliance is actually a nonprofit for gender equality and women's empowerment. We incubate and advance women entrepreneurs and other women-focused nonprofits, local and global. We differ from many other nonprofits in that we recently acquired a building in Harlem, which serves as a hub for these activities. Our goal is to make it self-sustaining, so it has to be run like a business.
Tell us about yourself
I am originally a medical doctor specializing in OB/GYN. I have also always been a human rights activist. I noticed a lot of nonprofits with similar missions had overlaps and inefficiencies and wanted to provide a space for them to collaborate. When I retired, I started running the organization full-time. The wonderful people who care about women's rights keep me going.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Acquiring the building this year, after 7 years of work with mainly volunteers, and seeing it begin to fulfill its role for local and global partner organizations.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The financial risk, which is linked to the employment of my staff.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't reinvent the wheel - research the market and check out your competition.
- Start with enough capital and be prepared for a slow start.
- Treat your employees well.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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