The co-founder of Elite Daily is creating a entrepreneur community to help rebuild Newark. Gerard Adams grew up in New Jersey and was involved in fighting, street racing and drug-dealing as a kid. After a brush with the law, he made some changes, transferring his “hustler mentality” from drug dealing to business.
After selling Elite Daily in 2015, Gerard was ready to find his next venture, one that embodied the importance of mentorship and helping communities in need.
Gerard bantered about his new entrepreneurial “community,” Fownders, with Carrie Sheffield and guest host Selena Hill from Black Enterprise on Bold TV on April 7. Gerard established Fownders in Newark, New Jersey to return to his home state and help rebuild this community.
Gerard wants to give young entrepreneurs a mentorship community that encourages their business ideas. It’s a 12 week “accelerator program,” where entrepreneurs can co-live, co-work, co-play and co-educate with each other, Gerard said.
“We like to think of it as a human accelerator before business accelerator,” Gerard said. “We really work with them on mindset, emotional intelligence and what really drives them. And then we take them through skills and what it takes to take an idea and turn it into a business.”
Gerard sold Elite Daily for $50 million to The Daily Mail in 2015; instead of stepping back and enjoying his success, he wanted to create a place where he could mentor other entrepreneurs.
“This is entrepreneurial success at its best,” Selena said. “The fact that [Gerard] decided not to put it aside, but refocus on giving back to community — that says a lot.”
Gerard calls himself a “Millennial Mentor” and saw the need for this role after spending time on social media and seeing the negative impact of instant fame on those platforms. He said that kind of success isn’t success. He felt like better role models and leaders, who have built real businesses, could provide mentorship and add understanding about what it truly is to make an impact in the world.
Expanding on Fownders’ mission, Carrie said, “Monetary success isn’t true success. You’ve really got to have a higher purpose. It seems that [Gerard is] taking that to the next level. [He’s] giving back to [his] community.”
Through Fownders, Gerard wants to challenge other entrepreneurs to not only be great business people, but great leaders. To do this, he advises that you find the one thing in life you are truly passionate about, regardless of money.
“Money never leads, it follows,” Gerard said. “You focus on your team. You focus on your customers. You focus on serving. You keep fighting for those people around you, and you will gain loyalty, and that’s worth more than all the money in the world. Are you the person who’s going to use that money as a tool to make a bigger impact?”
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