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Entrepreneurship Equals Empowerment | SXSW 2021

Harley Finkelstein
President at Shopify
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SXSW 2021
March 16, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
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Entrepreneurship Equals Empowerment | SXSW 2021
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About speakers

Harley Finkelstein
President at Shopify
John Hope Bryant
Founder, Chairman and CEO at Operation HOPE, Bryant Group

Harley Finkelstein is an entrepreneur, lawyer, and the President of Shopify. He founded his first company at age 17 while a student at McGill. Harley completed his law degree as well as his MBA at the University of Ottawa, where he co-founded the JD/MBA Student Society and the Canadian MBA Oath. Harley is an Advisor to Felicis Ventures, and one of the “Dragons” on CBC’s Next Gen Den. Recently, he received the Canadian Angel Investor of the Year Award, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award, and was inducted into the Order of Ottawa. From 2014 to 2017 Harley was on the Board of the C100, and from 2017 to 2020 he was on to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Harley is currently starring on Discovery Channel’s I Quit, a television series about hopeful entrepreneurs who decide to quit their 9-5 jobs to focus full-time on their side hustles.

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Selected as the 2016 American Banker 'Innovator of the Year,' John Hope bryant is a natural entrepreneur who became a businessman early in life with a modest but life changing, $40 investment from his mother in his first business idea at the age of 10. John Hope Bryant is a ‘silver rights’ entrepreneur and businessman, bestselling author, thought leader, philanthropic investor and the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Ventures.Bryant has been an advisor to the last three sitting U.S. presidents, whose work has been recognized by the last five (5) U.S. presidents. At the recommendation of Bryant, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew renamed the former U.S. Treasury Annex Building, the Freedman's Bank Building. Bryant is the only American citizen who has ever changed the name of a federal building on the White House campus.

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About the talk

Leveling the playing field for entrepreneurship is the single most important thing we can do to build a better economy. We must empower our next generation with the tools they need to create economic independence by bringing together businesses, governments, nonprofits and community orgs to invest in small business and remove barriers for disenfranchised groups. The challenges faced in 2020 highlighted many opportunities to do better, but also gave us hope, as the world rose to support Black entrepreneurs. We must continue to remove obstacles, encourage more aspiring Black entrepreneurs - and other traditionally marginalized communities - to start and scale businesses, and provide them with the technology, educational programs and opportunity to access capital that they need to succeed.

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Hi everyone. I'm Joe Lincoln, I'm the NBC News business and Tech correspondent and I am so happy to be back at South by Southwest. I don't know which number conference it is from you. I think it might be actually number 6, and an extra throughout the day to be focusing on a topic. It's so many of us care so much about, we're talking about rebuilding, our economy, in the aftermath, or in the midst of this pandemic. In the real Central issue here, of course, is entrepreneurialism and entrepreneurism court, it's the path to success at court. Also not created equal and that's what we want to

dive into today. And take a look at some of the systemic barriers that are in place and how companies and individuals and leaders are trying to break those down. Are you want to know before we get started? That we are recording this session in February, the very last few days of this month. At it is Black History Month. Of course, and we're taking a very close look of hard luck at what needs to change it. Properly, level the playing field for entrepreneurial success and of course I'd like to introduce our panelists. I'm so glad we get to be together. Onscreen, if not in person, John hope

Bryant the CEO and founder of operation. Ho as well as Harley people signed by all here today to discuss have a private volunteering public sector to come together and really remove the barriers. I just mentioned to bring in more business. Success to disenfranchised group and Beyonce, thank you for having us. So drunk. I want to start with you because I'm covered this pandemic and the unemployment and economic cited. It, I remember back in April 2020, 40% of black business

owners. Reported, they were unable to work. You can share that to White business owners and that number dropped significantly less than half, 17% of white wasn't saying the same thing. What is the reality of? What black business owners face today? As they try to make a comeback in this very fractured economy? Yes, it was a great question and you answer that, that out of all black, all this is America. Black businesses are about 8% to 10% and 96% of those businesses don't have an employer. So

proprietorships they don't have infrastructure, they don't have a banking relationship. They couldn't get in line for the front of the line before. Then, anyways, these Bank, these businesses were in a crisis before the crisis-hit. They are already living with too much month at the end of the money before the crisis, hit all this goes back to Abraham. Lincoln have a t-55 in the Freeman's bacon. Created a teacher treat slaves about money and then Lincoln was killed, the next month. So if any of a whole generation of generations of people were really smart really really short but it's

what we don't know that we don't notice killing us but we think we know so we can never talk about free enterprise cat with an economics ownership and opportunity. A scale later on, we can talk about. When we have succeeded, the Arts in professional sports in Hawaii, but in general business Lane, we've already been, we've always been fragile and the reason we can talk about it later. We didn't have the capital base or the reserves in. So in some ways we're coming out of this is sort of a wounded Eagle, but but but but, but we are also survivors. And

we've been doing so much with so little for so out for so long. We can almost do anything with nothing. In this is what gives me hope the same reason that gives me despair. This is it is the officer that is what gives me hope. Most of us are not online. Most of us. Do we have a business is a brick-and-mortar business without on eCommerce? That's, that's a problem. Is also an opportunity because we are incredible sales people. We are incredible, incredible hustle, we don't give up, we don't give in. That is a very nature, but I was going to run a small business owner. So I think,

with proper support, you going to see this group surge because they also know that this is their time, is that, in some ways, we're in a bit of a third reconstruction, right now, you didn't have his social is 14 euros, social justice Reckoning on Black America, that happened in the midst of coded in it, and there's no time like the present and potential contribution of blacks to Commerce. In America social justice, do an economically and so hurt. Call Mom would hope. Hurt harmed, but helpful and I wonder

as you think about Beyond pee pee pee, and Beyond, government assistance. And perhaps more government assistance coming down the pike, in all individuals who've lost their jobs. What about John? The private sector, what is their responsibility? Especially these large multinational conglomerate in the name of Amazon and other companies. What is their responsibility in supporting? And actually, enabling black entrepreneurship Well, I mean given that we basically built the country for free and probably

the Lord is reverse transfer of wealth in American history, who were the slaves working for free for 300 years? I think that is not it is not so much a data responsibility but I think it is a moral obligation to give a allow us a Level Playing Field to get back in the game. The other side of this point is I really think this forget all that and I put that aside for a moment there was just an enormous opportunity for corporations. The most prosperous profitable companies in the world are the most diverse New York and California or La the most diverse

and the most profitable Atlanta, the only city in Italy International City in the South, the most diverse in the most probable when the 10 top cities in Metro areas in the country. So diversity is also good business, sense of morals and money, not morose or money. Let me also contextualize this. In the sixties, it wasn't a government that integrated the South. It was a private sector because the majority of the customers back then in those small towns were black and they said, basically, I don't care what your white, black red green back, it was a private

sector who asked to take down the white. The whites only signs from Woolworths and JCPenney in the soda shop in the buff, which has been privately owned and asked the mayor of that time and knock it off and get, let's get back to business. So it is a little-known fact, but it was a private sector that was a role model in the 1960s likewise 3 billion dollars committed for social justice reforms, by the private sector, not the government in late 2020, when you're close, by the way, what we're talkin about here tonight, there's there lost GDP and not doing this. The Citigroup reports show that

discrimination as blacks in the last 20 years alone. Resulted in 16 trillion dollars with a t and lost me deeply to American Prosperity. 16 trillion dollars. If we just knock it off right now, you pick up a trillion dollars a year. That's not including e-commerce. That's not including the business bro you're probably two or three per cent in additional GDP and we can pick up just by doing the right thing by buying cluding everybody in the American up from nothing story. And that is a Believer just based on what I've read and what I've

seen, if that's one of the driving forces behind creating 1 million, black owned businesses, by 20/30. And that's where you're collaborating with Charlie over at Shopify. And I want to know how is this initiative going? Even now it's been going for a few months now. I believe where are you in terms of both the metrics and navigating the super challenging pandemic bounce back. Yeah. I mean I I think the first of all let, let's, let's level set for second. We think, and I think all of us would agree that entrepreneurship the ability to start

a business, it is, it is one of the great equalizers, it also on the other side of the pandemic, the back one of our economies is small business and so we've now spent 15 years of Shopify, trying to level the playing field so that anyone wants to or need to start a business can usually do so. But the problem is that some people, many people don't know that that is accessible. We met John O'Brien about a year ago and began talking about the fact that we have this piece of software that makes entrepreneurship accessible. It is an expensive. It is a fordable. It is easy to do. It's not a matter

of fact, is that we've been building for over a decade now Shopify. They are democratizing. They make it accessible in a way that has never been done before. The problem is that there's an entire group of people who don't know that this is possible. This Accessible to them into by marrying Operation, Hope in their access with Shopify Steck Knology. We think we can create 1 million black owned businesses in the next decade or so, and it's not but software technology. It's also this idea that what, if we can help with financial literacy, what if we can provide coaching and mentorship?

What if we can provide your classes? And so this idea of joining forces with operational control play together, we think we can have an outsize impact. And so far, we've already seen businesses, Franklin come out of nowhere, using the program to to succeed. Some of them were brick-and-mortar businesses that during the pandemic, how to shut their doors. And they had two very quickly digitalize and they used our program to do so, others are people that frankly just needed to commercialize their hobby or they lost their job had to supplement their income. And so what John and I even have

been talking about for a year now and then and finally now we're talking to publicly is what would happen if we can marry community and Technology? Can we have an outsize impact? We think we can. You see all of the different companies that are being started or now starting to use your software in this initiative. What's 132 really stands out to you as a success story at least so far. So we've about 1.7 million, merchants on Shopify and so our purview of of Entrepreneurship and small businesses is pretty amazing. Every 28 seconds. An entrepreneur gets the first sale on

Shopify and so so so far, the early signs are showing at almost half the participants are based in the southern us obviously, John's based in Atlanta, but we're seen examples like garbage, flea market, which is the brainchild of a mother and daughter Duo an Adrian and Anastasia, is there bass in New York City. It's a kids beauty and Lifestyle brand and could be launching at the end of next month and Adrienne is not your brother who's been using operation hopes resources for years while before shop, they got involved. And recently joined the one in TV program with her, seven-year-old daughter

to launch, his latest venture, And its focus on providing black-owned organic vegan nut-free. A beauty products and all the products are sourced from other smbs, other entrepreneurs in the United States and all over end to this idea of a mother who needed to provide an income, had to put food on the table for her family. Engage was Operation using technology to build a business that is is really important. And you know when you speak to about this she sees his business as a way to help basic rate generational wealth in this idea that if she teaches her

daughter at a young age about financial literacy, about starting a business about taxes and sales and marketing of profit margin. Instead of relying on scholarships and student loans, she can be independent and so those are the stories. But we're seeing them happen every day on the pain hotline through this program. I'm sorry. Go ahead and the guy who made the suit that I'm wearing. So the guy that we made Institute is the name of the garden, Ryan Taylor and he may have to come and talk for old clothing and he will put them in business. Game

is first loan $35,000 even business training in hospital ship frame. And this is really to Harley's point about democratizing really opportunity and in free enterprise for all and social justice do economical and this guy I could not get can I go get a job as a designer in New York? The one the fashion house. We told her to create his own fashion house 2535, South Carolina to train from us, kind of credit score and was doing a million dollars a year in Revenue in the shop in LA. And about my clothes from it but he couldn't, we could see each other anymore, we couldn't do business in in the

business is beginning to. He just told me that the Shopify platform will allow him to reimagine his old business model. And now take basically do from from Carson to online and what is Leo from an LA, based business to attend to a nationally based business overnight, call Em. And we think that this is going to happen, hundreds of times over in every city in America. Is it the light comes on? This is just a massive movement of Common Sense and meaning of your story, but I wanted to just so happens. I'm literally wearing literally wearing a small business owners suit is in a

beautifully that is black owned businesses, operate, and scale. Do you think about businesses like that that have been able to take advantage of the program and go straight to online or go from brick-and-mortar to online? And you also think about the other programs out there, like the 15% Sledge, and getting 15% of that Shell, Shell space for black owned businesses, it all fit together. As I see these initiatives coming to light and some of them have been in place for a while. Wires others have really been motivated by

seeking social justice through economic equality and opportunity. I wonder How much of a do you think, is lip service? How much of it is effective now? And how much will it will take a while to Bear the fruit of successive of business being built in turning a profit? That is a brilliant question. No one's ever asked of me before it is everything. First of all, Harley and I committed to it didn't do this for decades. It's not going to happen overnight. Rent a startup here in you. So they are getting the technology has mastered the technology side where the hell them match

of the community engagement side and together. We're in the master and markets in master Marketing, in an awareness side. But never before, have you have, you been in this era in this moment? Where when I call the third reconstruction 2020 or 2030? We have the first reconstruction second. This is where I think it should be a focus on financial literacy for all Which included a survey education? What happened to Wall Street? If you couple weeks ago doing well as building a generational, well, I was addressing the issue. I

mention to you earlier on the show and corporate inclusion for all what you just mentioned it. And what we're doing is Corporate clusion because it's frankly easier to do, they have a bunch of people that need to hire. They reach out this PC, you reach out to both schools and create a ladder. Those things will work. If all they do is reach out to their natural constituency is going to be harder harder achievement. The reason that this is different and I and I think you really do have a moment here where everybody was George, Floyd being murdered, really Lynch to the public lynching On

TV because covid had it all set in front of our TV sets, even eating, yummy food in Washington news. We're all watching the news in the same time and I think it's, everybody's breath away and nobody want to live in a country where they have a chance. No one wants to live in a country where do I didn't have a chance? And this is really about again to use Harley Race democratizing opportunity as hell. So here's how I this is different, you call me in because a lot of frankly is goes over people's heads and intimidate people. They don't get involved, they don't engage where do you hang around

9, bro. People that's in the tent. So you coming up. If you come in to 1 in BB, you get. Can you get his orientation? You get to build a business plan digital and online or in-person whatever makes you comfortable with training. Training over two different Lanes, you end up with a 700 credit, score communities training, getting your credit score, what with raising your self-esteem in your compass, you get for you and then you get a Shopify license. Free AAA domain name search if that's what you're free every time this happened, by the way, self-esteem goes up, as goes up when you get a

website dedicated to you and he storefront do it for free payment systems through Shopify investment for free for free. There's an investment and we expect the payoff from but only the front end doesn't cost a thing. When you get your, your your delivery system, you will feel me system. Support delivery system, support you make your first sale, you get a credit line. It's unbelievable from Shopify against your cell, not against your credit, not against your acid-base, not against your home. We talked about how that sufficient because of the history, but against your

ability to sell an idea self yourself, and then you have it for business professionals. Who volunteer their time, including people watching this program? Two hours from the accountant 2 hours from a banker to Osman insurance with two hours from an IT person 2 hours to help become a special forces team to give this business, the girth that your business, not busyness, that's game-changing, that's worth about $25,000 that package with every business. And I believe that that's that that's repairing the ladder have been slowly deteriorating. Since World War II, when most

mainstream folks got the GI bill to get help and come back from the war and get into the game. That created the white middle-class America, in education award for new home and a new job today. We need to create jobs, not just go get them, which is why I believe this is going to work at scale and how I believe this is different from other time. Joe one thing that, that that John said there that I want to just repeat when you get that first sale Your identity changes, if you eat you now become an entrepreneur. It it's, it's

an amazing thing in that helps with the steam. But also, you now create this entire, you know, John likes to tell me all the time that if you can give me up a small percentage of the population, gets 10% of the population to do something, they can influence the other ninety percent of population. There's a little bit of the other 95% of the influence. That is an amazing thing because what that means is that you create this Catalyst now for changed. So again, if someone gets there first, sailed through this program, they become an entrepreneur. If

they're steam chamber. Now he will provide for themselves and now they can influence all these other people ran into try the same thing. This idea that aren't that the entrepreneurship is easier, that is true that future is here. It's just not evenly distributed in the program. Intentions program is to better evenly distribute it. We can do that on a chocolate. We don't have access to all those people but John Operation HOPE to do and so that's where this idea came together. I want to know that you are a publicly traded company and of course, the bottom line does matter when you partner with

Operation Hope. And John obviously there is a business proposition in mind here, there's no doubt about it. When I think about John saying that the value of that package that Operation Hope in Shopify, R R Us are fostering, it's $25,000 per business. You are confident that you will be able to recoup that cost and more I imagine because you've made this $1000000 pledge. When how do you calculate that as a present of Shopify personalized as my friend, John likes to say before you can do good, you have to do well and and so we're we are fortunate that

shop lies able to to to provide this. So just to be clear, we are off but it's about a hundred and thirty million dollars of resources over 10 years. And so, you know, whether it's, it's, it's four months of free. Shopify is a tailored education program to be specific that is 40 hours to help business owners. Launch to access to whole bunch of communities. There's a lot that goes into it, but frankly, the idea guy wants to be the entrepreneurship company, can we be the global entrepreneurship? Can we be the companies that helps entrepreneurs to in a way that no one ever comes

ever done it. You have to have access to all types of different people. And the fact that, you know, John said, it said earlier on, when he when he began that it is not Evenly distribute that even know. There are 15. If it's me to the population are black Americans, but the date, but the less than 10% of them. Actually have a business and of that 10%, what's the number ninety-nine? 95% of them are sole proprietorship. 9600, South Patterson, there is opportunity for us, not only to help spread entrepreneurship and do good. But also, of course, to get more people

using Shopify in. And again, it's not necessarily just around, you're getting more merchants on our platform with 1.7 million outfits. Also, can we introduce the idea of Entrepreneurship to people who otherwise would never have seen it? And it's it's something that we feel really good about. But actually it's your point early with the private sector. I think everyone the private sector that has an opportunity to do something like this. You absolutely should. The onus is on you to do that. Yes,

I'll be very quick. Look, what do you think? I'm going to hit it straight up. I was asked by somebody who heard this program flat just sounds too good to be true. Is there a catch? What's the catch? Yes, there's a catch. Shopify, once she was a future customer. You don't want handouts. You want to James Brown's version of affirmative action? Open the door. I'll get it. Myself, we want a hand up. Not a handout, but we don't know that. We don't know this killing us, but we think we know we never had the opportunity before. So we want the back,

we want to know, okay, they think we're Queen near future customers sitting with Destin up on the front end. What is it? By the way, you tell me what, what's the bank or what? What is the insurance person one to you as a paying customer because the Jamaican $3,000 a year for nothing? I need to hire an accountant, the baker who's going to hire a person that's why I think is a different Joe. I need the business Community has finally realized it was sustainable. Philanthropy is business and philanthropy together its moral. One laughing at when

I get to with women that love and money is scussion is women are women of color? And there are so many women of color who has experienced the clock, winding backwards in the tent, because of what has happened with job loss, and with child care and with a myriad of other things including obvious Public, Health crisis. How are you? Both and Carly matter with you and then go to Jon, how are you both making sure that in this initiative you are going to bring up women of color specifically to make sure that the clock does not go backwards and it goes forwards instead

for them. I think that the study that you're you're talking like she always is the UN came out of covid-19, may have reverse Decades of progress, concerning gender, equality Workforce. So that is that, that's a real thing here. So, highest level we believe in a world with more voices. In Commerce is better for both business and consumers in an entrepreneur. Is about Economic Opportunity. Empowerment tour goal is to help unlock these opportunities, to especially, from for black women. We also know already on Shopify 53% of our Merchant stuff identify as women. So we think actually,

what we're doing it because his Pro number, one is flexible. If you can do it when you want, you can start when you want, you can do. It makes me weekends, if that's when it's more appropriate roof but we're not dictating when had to do it for getting enough flexibility and so we actually think by providing more flexibility and making it accessible whenever however you want to participate, that will be a massive. Massive help that the second piece is role-modeling, every time we have a successful Merchant, particularly a black female entrepreneur, go to this program, John R, I want to talk

about it, at story case, study at 2, to inspire others to do the same thing. We're still in the early days of it, but even the examples that I brought up today, these are black female entrepreneurs, I were talking about. John. Yes, I do this. I love this question. I love you Brad. Because it's again, it's everything. The only group has had it worse than black. People are black female and said he was going to run by women. Use a good news though, 70% of the businesses that have been created of late have been created by women. The vast majority of black businesses are

created by women. Are you talking about? Women are the biggest biggest owner of buyers of books are in, are in this country. Almost anyone that has categories of people, we've been doing so much with, so, little for so long. But usually women, we always went with nothing there natural entrepreneur. See what I'm saying? They're true. They've been running a business just didn't know it. So this is a way for them to have to Independence truevoice. We don't get a job but you can create a job for yourself. So I think that women are going to be the real

heroines of this story heroes in. Heroes where we are right now actually right now, just just just get an action item to the people watching right now. You can actually go and download the shop and it's more than a hundred million to have a directory of black owned businesses. And they're more than 850 black owned online stores that you can. You can find their many of those majority. Those are actually owned by five. I seen a black entrepreneurs What sounds like you're ambitious yard, aesha School, 1 million black owned businesses, you're on your way. But ever the journalist that

I will be I will be checking in with you next 6 months next year and I'm weird because this is a this is a big old eyes and I really appreciate your time today sharing. Why you did this and your real reason for Hope behind all of this John hope Bryant CEO and founder of Operation HOPE Harley Finkelstein, Fresno. Shop of Five Guys. Good luck. And thank you. Thank you.

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