Today is one of those days where I'm floored with a mixture of gratitude and pride. My team at FivePoint, has been honored to help an incredible start-up called Prison Bars get ready for launch and prepare for an appearance today on the Steve Harvey show.
Learning about the story of former NBA basketball player and Prison Bars founder Seth Sundberg, and seeing the impassioned drive he and his remarkable team have to create pathways for formerly incarcerated individuals to regain dignity and make good on second chances has been inspiring. When I hear them say that they want to make the business case for tackling recidivism with their "criminally delicious" snack bars, I have no doubt that they're heading for a slam dunk.
Having studied and worked in economic and workforce development for years, I've been able to look at recidivism and broader workforce and economic mobility issues in a number of communities. Seeing somebody taking direct action around them - while creating a great product and model for business - is pure awesome.
When I launched Five Point in 2014, my hope was to create a one-stop platform for guidance and services through which start-ups as well as disruptive leaders in the public and non-profit sectors could launch and deploy initiatives and brands to tackle difficult problems and make a difference. Idealistic? Perhaps a bit - but what's the point of growing if we don't like what we're becoming?
I'd suggest the same is true for economic development and civic issues, and I'm excited to see the growth of a generation of business and civic leaders inspired to tack action and work together on issues that matter. I hope we learn from this new breed of leaders, and continue to push ourselves - in our companies, civic institutions, and teams - to think big, work hard, and make positive impact where we can. It can make good business sense to do so.
It certainly can make good sense, too, for our communities and regions when we think strategically and long-term along with our partners, stakeholders, and peers about issues beyond our own enterprises and organizations - such as transportation, education, our shared goals and vision for growth.
Seth and many of his team have waded through some difficult challenges to ultimately find themselves where they are today, building a promising new venture and launching a "criminally delicious" product, winning awards and accolades from industry groups, designing a phenomenal platform for growth of the company and team. They're seeking now to make good on the second chances they've been afforded, and create a platform through which others can do the same.
You can view a clip of Seth's appearance on the Steve Harvey show at Criminally Delicious. Check them out. Let me know what you think, and what you're doing to build something great.