Starting a business is hard and can quickly feel overwhelming. And these entrepreneur pain points are begging for an entrepreneurial solution, says author, speaker and serial entrepreneur Jen Groover.
That’s why, last week in Philadelphia, Groover launched her newest company, JumpStart StartUp, with the mission of making it easier for people to start and grow businesses. The venture will host free pop-up events in major cities around the United States where entrepreneurs can access information, valuable giveaways and a curated yet complete array of business services.
Goover likes to call the idea “business in a box,” which she says was born from the advice-oriented TV segments and articles she did to help entrepreneurs find their way as a contributor at outlets like ABC, CBS, CNBC, NBC, MSNBC and Fox.
With JumpStart StartUp, she aims to reach 1,000 new and young companies at each of 10 events over the next 12 months. She also plans to support their’ success over time and follow many of their stories in a video project. By helping to simplify the process of starting and growing a business, she believes the initiative will help create jobs and drive economic and social impact around the country.
Groover’s “movement” began last Monday with a week-long pop-up shop in Philadelphia, where stations for various services were set up inside a former Puma store on Walnut Street, a high-traffic commercial street in what’s known as Center City. The event won the backing of Mayor Jim Kenney as an economic development strategy, and featured higher-education partners including Drexel, Temple and Villanova Universities.
Participating business-services firms, large and small, offered everything from internet services and app development to coworking spaces to accounting, banking and digital-marketing services. They paid JumpStart StartUp to be there, but Groover says sponsors were vetted and selected based on quality and reputation. And they gave away products and help of significant value to the nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs who attended, she says.
“People are coming in and literally crying,” she told us last Thursday. Not only are they saving thousands of dollars on things like legal advice and marketing assets, “they feel they have a team around them to support their growth.”
One of the criers was Rachel Cichowicz, a user-experience designer who had been working on a meditation app for trauma survivors for months when she stumbled across the pop-up event. “I was so happy, and I’ve had such a phenomenal experience here,” she said in a video shot by event sponsor Branded Productions.
“I couldn’t have imagined I would be able to get all of this useful information just like that, all of it right here in front of me — from opportunities about banking to branding to different platforms to market my business to 100 free business cards,” said Paul Beckles, another participant and new entrepreneur, in a sponsor video. “I definitely feel like this was God acting right on time.”
“The excitement is a validation that this was an idea that was so overdue,” Goover says. Now she’s full speed ahead on planning events in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Austin, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Each, she promises, will be in high-traffic areas and feature stand-out local business-service providers.