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Entrepreneur of the Month – March 2016


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Created on March 3, 2016
 

In January 2016, we kicked off a new campaign called Entrepreneur of the Month, which allows MBDA audiences to meet creative business owners and executives who have leveraged MBDA’s programs and services in unique ways to foster growth. At MBDA, our core mission is infused with the energy and vision of minority business entrepreneurs. In highlighting those who exemplify passion, innovation, and determination, we hope to inspire business owners of today and tomorrow.

Don ShinMBDA is proud to announce Don Shin of CrossComm Inc. as the March Entrepreneur of the Month. CrossComm Inc. is a mobile and web app development studio helping large and small organizations achieve their digital aspirations. With offices in Durham, NC, and Austin, TX, CrossComm designs and develops custom iPhone, Android, and web applications for its clients.

Don harnessed his entrepreneurial spirit as an undergraduate at Duke University by leveraging a fervent interest in computers, specifically human-computer interaction and multimedia user interfaces. In simpler terms, he wanted to explore the convergence between computers, visual media, and music.

“When I finally arrived at college, every dorm room was hooked up to the Internet and I had my first experience of the World Wide Web in its Netscape 1.1 glory,” said Don. “It was my eureka moment, and I proceeded to teach myself how to build websites outside of the classroom while attending programming classes.”

At the time of graduation, Don found himself with a colorful resume — a degree in computer science, a minor in music, and a certificate in film and video with focus on visual theory.

During a summer undergraduate interview with a medical institution, he confessed he was interested not in the internship, but redesigning the organization’s underdeveloped website. From there, Don acquired his very first client and CrossComm was founded.

“For me, building great apps is a wonderfully interdisciplinary challenge of finding the sweet spot between form and function involving many levels of human computer interaction, especially with the advent of wearable computers, like the Apple Watch,” said Don.

Don was first attracted to the entrepreneurial lifestyle for a couple of reasons: he could be his own boss and march to his own rhythm. He learned, however, that being an entrepreneur comes with a unique level of complexity —meeting client obligations, having responsibility over team members and their livelihoods, and making high-stake decisions. Yet, over the past two decades, Don continues to thrive on the ability to give back and create jobs.

“Entrepreneurship is the life’s blood of a vibrant economy,” said Don. “There is beauty in being able to create and refine a company environment that is not only productive but nurturing for the employees under your care.”

Through his growing relationship with MBDA, Don hopes to leverage new networking and business opportunities that uniquely speak to minority entrepreneurs and the issues that often impact them. He noted the hard truth that while society often celebrates wins and successes, the “dark side” of entrepreneurship — loneliness, stress and depression — is rarely discussed.

“On top of that, minorities often face a unique sub-set of challenges beyond the run-of-the-mill variety,” said Don. “Leadership is often lonely, but I’m increasingly convinced that it doesn’t always have to be.”

Don’s Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Address the loneliness issue from the start of your journey. If you choose to start a business, do it with a partner. Involve your tight community into your venture — find a group of advisors. The right people around you will help you stay grounded during your victories and buoy you during your setbacks.

 

Do you know a minority business owner you’d like to see featured as Entrepreneur of the Month? Please email a statement of consideration to Alicia Sowah at asowah@mbda.gov.

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