Back in December 2019, I remember how excited and optimistic we were for 2020. We spent a meeting planning out events for the first six months, including our 1 year anniversary.
In February, we had come off of such a high from attending and presenting at the Pinoys on Parliament Conference in Ottawa. During the following month, March, we were getting ready to co-host an in-person info session on cannabis. As news of the coronavirus became more serious and was officially declared a pandemic, we made the tough, but right decision to move this info session online.
As with so many businesses trying to navigate through so much uncertainty, we tried as best as we could to stay connected with our community through our newsletter and additional virtual events – networking, a writing workshop, and our 1 year anniversary.
One of KC’s future goals was to offer online workshops to cater to people who couldn’t physically able to attend our in-person events but still wanted to connect with the community. One of the silver linings of the pandemic was that it enabled us to test this out much sooner than we had anticipated. We had originally started in the Greater Toronto Area and now we were connecting with people from other provinces, the U.S., and even our birthplace/the birthplace of our parents – the Philippines.
End of May, we were accepted into the RISE program at the Sheridan EDGE incubator which gave us access to a community of other startup founders, many of whom were also social entrepreneurs. We also gained access to a network of resources and amazing mentors. This has helped us tremendously with furthering our mission. Even though we both have experience running solo service-based businesses, running a community-focused startup with a co-founder has additional challenges that we are not used to.
We tweaked our monthly newsletter to provide more than just reminders about our events. Since we were taking a break from events, our newsletter evolved to feature other businesses, share resources and provide tips/insights for running a business.
We showed our support and continue to do so for one of the largest movements in U.S. history– Black Lives Matter. As members of the BIPOC community, we stand in solidarity with them.
Our mainly event-focused social media content also evolved in a way that was similar to our newsletter. The series “Friday Filipino Founder Feature” (How’s that for alliteration?) was created- where we interviewed founders of Filipinx-owned businesses. We asked them to share the struggles and success of their entrepreneurial journey thus far and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
To create more interaction with the community, we used Instagram Live to create a more in-depth conversation with Filipinx founders.
In September, we reached a significant milestone – launching our site. I’m biased, but looking back from when we first started, we achieved a lot of growth based of mainly Instagram and word of mouth. We didn’t set up a site till this year because back in 2019, KC was more of an idea that we were testing. Having this site not only strengthens our credibility, it provides a permanent online home for KC.
As part of our workflow, we began to schedule weekly work sprints. They were two solid hours (sometimes more, which was known as the debrief) of strategizing, planning, developing, and brainstorming. We refer to them workouts for our brain because we end up feeling really exhausted but really motivated right after. We went from DMing on Instagram to managing our conversations in the many channels in our Slack workspace. As of right now, I am not allowed to add any more channels.
November was another defining moment because we found out we received non-dilutive seed funding. What made it so significant was not the money itself, but the fact that we had been able to create a strong business case, show proof of validation and have other people recognize what we are doing is meaningful, important work.
There are several projects in our pipeline, including our directory – which you can take advantage of the Founding Member Price until Dec 31, 2020.
Although there was so much uncertainty this year, 2020, gave us the opportunity to become more clear on our goals and whom we were trying to service, which ended up being very similar to ourselves.
If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to take some time during the holidays to reflect on the past year for your business. Celebrate your wins – both big and small. Learn from your losses. Ask for help. Ask for feedback. Test, iterate, and repeat.
As always, thank you for being part of our community. Continue to not only stay safe but to stay well.