This article was published in the Spring 2022
by Emily Fonnesbeck, Editor-In-Chief, Silicon Slopes Magazine
When I was in 5th grade I used a blue sharpie to draw my name in fancy block letters on the front of my binder. My classmate noticed and asked if I could do hers, and I obliged. Then the kid across from her noticed and wanted his name done as well. I quickly realized an opportunity had presented itself, and I started charging a dollar per name.
Word spread faster than a dodgeball to the face, and soon I was doing custom binders for kids outside my class and even in other grades. Business was booming, and I rode the wave until a few weeks later when someone introduced the school to Pogs. Game over.
My young entrepreneurial experience left me hungry for more, and throughout my adolescence I created and sold all kinds of tchotchke. The funny thing was, I realized that I enjoyed creating the item and marketing it more than fulfilling orders—I was addicted to the building process.
It’s a tale that probably sounds familiar to a lot of you, and while I haven’t gone on to build a unicorn company or raise funding for my business, I enjoy hearing the stories of those who have. The drive and excitement of an entrepreneur is positively contagious. After talking to many many founders I’ve noticed a few things, but at the forefront is an absolute passion and won’t-stop attitude for whatever they’re building.
I’ve talked to founders of software companies, bakeries, non-profit organizations, swimsuit companies, and bag designers. I’ll never get tired of hearing a founder’s story. Each one is unique, and wrought with struggle, victories, hardship, and triumph. When our conversation comes to an end, I can’t help but feel inspired and infected with that entrepreneurial sickness of “I’m going to start a business.”
This issue is focused on the “upside down” of startups and entrepreneurship. Let’s face it, starting a business is HARD, and some of us aren’t cut out for that roller coaster (in the face of Pogs I totally folded), but I hope after you read these stories you’ll feel some of the highs and moments of “We did it!” that these founders have felt.
Utah is a unique breeding ground for entrepreneurial success, and although no one can really put their finger on that “thing” Utah has, at Silicon Slopes we think a huge part of it is our sense of community. Utah founders help, lift, and teach one another. They give their time and talents to up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the midst of struggle.
There’s plenty of room for everyone. Utah is the place for unicorns, side hustles, basement offices, global headquarters, and even fifth grade binder businesses.
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*Read the latest issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine, Spring 2022