We talked to James Oliver, Jr of WeMontage about its ParentPreneur foundation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
James Oliver, Jr: We are doing ok. Virtual schooling my 7-year-old twins has been hard, though. But we are healthy, and I’m thankful for that.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded WeMontage.
James Oliver, Jr: I started my journey as an entrepreneur almost eight years ago when my twins were born three months prematurely and weighed only two pounds each. They were born two days before I started the gener8tor tech accelerator to launch my business, WeMontage.
How does WeMontage innovate?
James Oliver, Jr: WeMontage is the world’s only website that lets you turn your digital images into removable wallpaper. But right now, I’m more focused on the ParentPreneur Foundation, which I started during the pandemic to empower Black parents who are entrepreneurs to be the best parent and entrepreneur possible so that they can leave a legacy for their beautiful Black children.
I started the foundation with a $50,000 seed grant from tach VC Brad Feld, and in three months turned that into $200,000 of value for the members of our online community. We paid for therapy, gave away a total of $20,000 to 20 people, gave $60,000 in AWS, and so much more.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
James Oliver, Jr: I am thriving with the foundation. As I mentioned, I started it during the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
James Oliver, Jr: The hardest thing is taking care of myself mentally. I do this by being mindful, relaxing when I can, and staying connected to God.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and WeMontage in the future?
James Oliver, Jr: I simply trust God. My new mantra is, “Everything is fine,” because I trust God to handle any would-be problems. I expect the foundation will annually give away $1 million in grants to Black ParentPreneurs around the world.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
James Oliver, Jr: There are tons of entrepreneurship and Facebook communities, but none of them focus on Black parents who are entrepreneurs. If I execute against our value proposition, everything will be fine.
Your final thoughts?
James Oliver, Jr: Thanks for reaching out.
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