1 Year & Counting…

This week marks my 1 year Anniversary with an organization for which my love runs both wide and deep, UnboundRVA. Time truly flies when you are having fun, but also when you have welcomed your calling with wide open arms. The opportunity to spend my days serving and supporting entrepreneurs is not only a complete joy for me, but a responsibility of mine as well. Through the years, I’ve been afforded many incredible opportunities, have sat at the feet of game changers and successful entrepreneurs but this year has allowed me to share space with some of my biggest teachers — UnBoundRVA’s program participants & entrepreneurs. These hometown gems, equipped with both the skills and passion for entrepreneurship, and simply in need of the guidance and resources to make it all happen have showed me what possibility looks like, what hope can materialize into and what shared resources can do to change the narrative of a community. Filled with complete gratitude for both these master teachers and the lessons.

So I’ve been in reflection mode as I celebrate year 1 & counting. From lessons learned to identifying areas of opportunity for both the entrepreneurs and the organization. To thinking, I would not want to be anywhere else in the world at this moment in time. Richmond has equally won my heart over thanks to the development of the ecosystem created in support of entrepreneurship. I am loving it, and many of its key players. Many of whom are doing amazing work as we strive toward bridging the opportunity gap within the cities entrepreneurship ecosystem. From organizations like Girls for a Change implementing a marketplace as part of of their summer curriculum for girls where they learn about the various components of both commerce and entrepreneurship, to FeastRVA that provides a communal platform to support local creatives and their community and entrepreneurial based projects to Startup Virginia, an incubator located in the tech village of Shockoe Valley. Yes, we have more work to do to level the entrepreneurial playing field in Richmond however seeds are being planted and the journey ahead looks promising. I could not be more excited about the role UnboundRVA plays in bringing both the balance and opportunity.

The incomparable Shirley Chisholm once said, “Service is the rent you pay for room on this earth.” It is an absolute breath of fresh air to be surrounded by people that have committed their lives to being of service to the Richmond community. From our incredible team at Unbound, to our Board of Directors, Emerging Leaders Board to volunteers, I am completely inspired and look forward to continuing the work and changing the narrative, one local business owner at a time.

-Melody Short