Co-Founder and Partnership Director, UnBoundRVA
“We are creating the infrastructure to positively impact as many lives as possible.”
A year after participating in Babson’s Entrepreneur’s Boot Camp, we spoke with Richard Luck about the launch of his new venture, UnBoundRVA.
How would you describe UnBoundRVA’s core mission?
UnBoundRVA is a nonprofit organization that aims to alter life trajectories through the positive power of business. We do this by identifying promising individuals from low-income communities and then connecting them to the resources, training, and the support they need to become successful entrepreneurs.
What three accomplishments stand out as evidence of UnBoundRVA’s success to date?
- In our first year of operations, three of our entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to double their personal income through their new business. One of our entrepreneurs has signed a contract for $20,000 of reoccurring annual work. This one contract alone is more than what he reported making on his W2 last year.
- UnBoundRVA has developed successful partnerships with corporations around Richmond, Virginia, that provide pro-bono services or financial support. These businesses include Capital One, Dominion, Altria, LeClairRyan, Cherry Bekaert, and Village Bank to name a few.
- Since our inception in 2014, we have been fortunate to raise around $400,000 to help launch and support our entrepreneurs and their businesses.
Do you have an example of how UnBoundRVA supports the promising entrepreneurs with whom you work?
Raheim Watson has no college degree and a criminal history, but he has a ton of talent and an incredible work ethic. He knew finding a job that matched his work ethic and talent was going to be nearly impossible, so he turned to UnBoundRVA for help. We helped Raheim develop a business model, finance his business through a banking partnership, and establish new relationships with individuals and corporations who can use his window washing services. Raheim recently negotiated a $20,000 contract with a property management firm in Richmond. This one contract alone is more than what he reported making on his W2 last year.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced since starting UnBoundRVA?
The biggest challenge we have experienced since starting UnBoundRVA has been transitioning the program from a small social enterprise to a sustainable nonprofit. We are still building out systems and processes to ensure that UnBoundRVA has the infrastructure to grow and positively impact as many lives as possible.
At what stage of the venture process did you enter Babson’s Entrepreneur’s Boot Camp?
I took the Boot Camp in June of 2014, the summer after teaching with Teach for America. My co-founder and I knew we had some good ideas, but we did not have experience launching and running a business, so taking Babson’s Entrepreneur’s Boot Camp made sense.
How has your venture concept changed since you completed the Boot Camp?
My partner and I initially modeled UnBoundRVA after angel investment groups, but after listening to community partners and legal experts, we determined that it made sense to create a nonprofit. We are very excited about our current model, and we found the Boot Camp to be instrumental in providing us a framework for launching our organization and supporting the entrepreneurs that we serve today.
What are your plans for growth?
We are excited about implementing a fellowship program through which two recent college graduates will work full time for one year to support our entrepreneurs on a day-to-day basis. The new staff will enable us to grow from supporting five entrepreneurs in 2015 to supporting 10 entrepreneurs in 2016.