Updated: May 18, 2020
Lewis Carroll's story titled Through the Looking Glass, describes Alice as she walks through a mirror into a seemingly upside down world. As I think of the stories I like the most from 2015, they resonate with this theme, but with a twist. Instead of a clear mirror opening a door to an unclear, confusing world, two entrepreneurs walk through an unclear, possibly confusing circumstance to bring clarity to a future situation.
Early in 2015, the Rising Tide Car Wash was highlighted on several major news networks. This car wash, started by veteran entrepreneur and dad, is a business where his son and others with autism could have a productive place of employment. Individuals with autism have an eye for detail and love to follow procedures and processes. The Rising Tide Car Wash sees autism as one of its key competitive advantages.
As 2015 drew to a close, another story began to sweep across the media channels. Student entrepreneur Veronika Scott, challenged by a class to fill a real need, designed and developed the sleeping bag coat for those individuals that are homeless. The story, however, was not about the product Scott designed, but what happened next. A homeless person challenged Scott, indicating the real need was not the coat, but a job. Scott then started The Empowerment Plan, a manufacturing plant for her product. She hired homeless individuals to whom she trained in both job and life skills.
Both these individuals inspire me to think differently. This week, at Judson University, we obtained approval to transform two business classrooms. One will be a high tech, glossy showcase of an envisioned future. The other will be a Maker Space, a low-key hangout designed to foster creative and innovative thought. While my natural inclination is to step gingerly through the glass, these entrepreneurs remind me to walk boldly through it, transforming our messy current circumstance into a future that is crystal clear.