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Watch: "The hustle of social capital" | 7:47

The hustle of social capital

Founder Simion Collins shares first-hand how having a black, male mentor take a chance on him has been life-changing for his business and as a young, black filmmaker.

Simion Collins hustles, because everything is on the line. There is no safety net for this 20-something entrepreneur with a startup media production company in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Grants or loans are non-existent and, as a minority, he said receiving a bank loan is 10 times more challenging. He has faced a learning curve to not only figure out how to start and maintain a business – the basics every entrepreneur needs – but also mastering the craft and making the connections needed as a filmmaker.

“The impact of having a black, male mentor on my personal team and business has been life-changing,” Collins said.

He finds comfort in getting help and advice from someone he can relate to and in the intentionality by which the black creatives in his network support each other. “My mentor has provided me with opportunities that allow me to thrive as an entrepreneur,” Collins said.

That’s social capital. Being introduced to existing clients, the opportunity to “earn your badges” by showing the value of your work, and getting connected to new people and work is essential in growing a young business.

“Our ‘capital’ is produced from favors – volunteering services to build a portfolio – trade of services, long-term relationships, and corporate clients,” Collins said.

“Our hustle is of constant innovation, which for most is only for survival,” he said. Building and maintaining relationships is essential to thrive; to grow a business to the point where a founder can hire others and elevate the community.

“This year I was able to contract jobs to five people, consistently, paying them their full rate and I felt amazing doing so,” Collins said. “Knowing I was able to hire people that are within my community – providing them with capital for their business, helping pay their bills so they can continue living as a full-time freelancer or creative business owner – is truly liberating.”

His ability to generate wealth that supports his family and other families creates a foundation of happiness and opportunity to build resources and paths for each person to find success, he said.

“That’s why it’s worth the risk for me – a domino effect of positivity, love, inspiration, wealth, growth, and happiness.”


Our Bootstrap Obsession: Let each of us own our success, exhibit the grit and determination it takes to forge our own paths to define and achieve it, but with the recognition that we don’t get there alone.

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