Jenny Poon, founder of CO+HOOTS

Jenny Poon, entrepreneur and founder of CO+HOOTS, shares her experience with student debt as a daughter of immigrants.

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Speaking out on the debt dilemma
Jenny Poon
Founder CO+HOOTS

Speaking out on the debt dilemma

Jenny Poon has a unique perspective on student debt, as the child of immigrant parents who had to bootstrap her way to success through the American system.

While education is essential to getting ahead, racking up debt in the pursuit of it is a tricky proposition. Founder of @cohootsphx @poondingo shares her experience with student debt as a child of immigrant parents. #RiskOptimistic

The Risk Optimistic

Jenny Poon has the advantage of having been born in the United States to parents who brought the immigrant’s mindset with them from Vietnam. She knows the value of hard work, having chopped her share of vegetables and waited enough tables in their restaurant in Minneapolis. And, she inherited their views that while education is essential to getting ahead, racking up debt in pursuit of education is a tricky proposition. She caught our attention last October, with an impassioned Twitter thread, in which she laid out her views. In this audio essay, Poon expands on her ideas, and tells the story of her parents’ journey, how that influences her worldview to this day, and why she thinks we take the need for student debt for granted, when it has created an unnecessary burden on a generation of potential entrepreneurs, and inhibited them from being the risk-takers we need to drive the economy.

Jenny Poon, founder of CO+HOOTS



Jenny Poon is an entrepreneur and founder of CO+HOOTS, a highly regarded coworking space which currently houses 280+ scaling entrepreneurs and small businesses. She speaks regularly on leadership as a millennial, the importance of nurturing innovation in the workspace and works to bring visibility to coworking as an economic development tool for building vibrant and equitable cities.

Poon was named Phoenix Business Journal’s 2016 Phoenix Businessperson of the Year, the first minority and the first woman to receive the honor.


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"The Risk Optimistic" is about belief: the assurance that taking a chance is worthwhile, even without knowing the outcome. It’s also the belief that if we value and support risk – in policy, community, and culture – we benefit from each person's ability to make choices to achieve success. With this initiative, Kauffman kicks off 2020 with insights, stories, and opportunities to explore what it means to take risks, and own your own success, however you choose to define it.


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