Moore & Van Allen Invests in Success of Queen City Forward Entrepreneurs
This spring and summer, Moore & Van Allen attorneys had the privilege of convening with some of the community’s most innovative and entrepreneurial minds. MVA has formally dedicated its resources to Queen City Forward, Charlotte’s hub for entrepreneurs with start-up businesses that address prominent local and broader needs. Initiatives to date have included pro bono transactional legal services, financial donations, individual assessments with Queen City Forward’s 2014 “Impact 3” and “Impact U” delegates, and seminars to advise on the various legal facets involved in starting a business to successful growth and raising capital.
Queen City Forward (QCF), led by Executive Director Charles Thomas, was established to help bring to life business ideas that address the community’s most serious needs. The organization’s goal is to balance a triple-bottom-line of people, planet and profit, by supporting a cluster of innovation in the Charlotte region that spurs economic development, improves the lives of citizens, and drives a new model of sustainable growth. QCF has caught the attention of MVA and many others, both locally and nationally. In fact, Thomas was invited to present at the Clinton Global Initiative America annual meeting in Denver on June 24.
“We believe that Charlotte has the opportunity to lead the Southeast Region in attracting and promoting innovative high-growth companies that are addressing tough social and environmental issues in areas such as healthcare, education, and environmental sustainability. The support of firms like Moore & Van Allen help us create that dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Thomas stated.
MVA Financial Services Member Chris Buchanan, with the support of the Firm’s Public Service Committee, launched the relationship with QCF in 2013. Buchanan now directs the Firm’s new and ongoing efforts. MVA’s primary goal is to help foster the growth of QCF’s select entrepreneurs, to ultimately broaden their positive impact within the Charlotte community.
“We are orchestrating our efforts to share practical legal basics in support of Queen City Forward’s remarkable mission, and in support of the individuals who are dedicating their academic and professional lives to advancing this mission,” stated Buchanan. “We firmly believe in Queen City Forward’s model, and it’s an honor and inspiration to interact with some of Charlotte’s most dedicated and determined trailblazers.”
MVA hosted a two-day seminar for QCF’s Spring 2014 Impact 3 entrepreneurs in May, to advise on the legal considerations of starting, running and growing a business. Presentations ranged from choosing a legal structure and forming strategic partnerships, to owning intellectual property and managing proper employee hiring, discipline and termination. Seminar attendees included the following individuals, each representing their respective businesses:
- Ron Morgan & Sam Fleming, 100 Gardens
- Joseph James, Agri-Tech Producers, LLC
- Robert Morrision, Cool Down Now
- Kristina Cruise, Promising Pages
- Rahsaan Kearney, Sk-1forU Ortho Kids
- Mara Campolungo, The Sandbox
- Stacey and Crystal Utley, The Substitute
The legal seminar sequence was then refashioned specifically for QCF’s 2014 Impact U college students, and held in QCF’s office in July. Impact U is being run by Coordinating Interns Sam McClenney and Arnar Thor Vidarsson. A “Demo Day” was hosted on August 6, at which for Impact U participants were given the opportunity to pitch their startup companies. The Summer 2014 Class includes the following individuals, each representing their respective businesses:
- Andy Baay & Michael DeSimone, Crossfaded
- Ryan Carter, Student United Way of the Piedmont
- Jake Corday, Bad Glass Studios
- Alexandra Goeldner & Jensen Roll, H.O.P.E. Helping Other People Eat
- Goeffrey Griffin, Young Success
- Radijah Hudson, Phenomx
- Randall Mardus & Sophia Smith, Guisto
- Kacie N. Meyers, Pal Hardwood
The MVA attorneys who served as presenters for the QCF seminars include: Taxation Member Rob Fisher, Corporate Member Marcus Lee, Associate Ben Hicks, IP Associates Patrick Horne and Peter Stewart, Employment Member Karin McGinnis, Financial Services Member Mac McBryde and Associate Brennan Sheedy, and Corporate Member Carolyn Meade.
In addition to the Impact 3 and Impact U programs, QCF also just launched “Innovation Challenge: Food,” a program designed to overcome challenges of the local food ecosystem in order to provide all citizens with healthy and affordable food. Facets of the program include uniting major stakeholders, igniting community dialogue, and supporting entrepreneurs who have business ideas that would improve the local production, distribution or consumption of food.
“Our partnership with Moore & Van Allen began in 2013, and we are excited to partner with the Firm and to be growing that relationship in 2014. The legal assessments and seminars provided our Impact 3 and Impact U cohorts with the resources needed to assist our startups in reaching the next level with their business and impact. Our social entrepreneurs enjoyed and learned a great deal from the experience created by the Moore & Van Allen team,” Thomas stated.
About Queen City Forward
Queen City Forward is working to build the social entrepreneurship community in Charlotte, N.C., by empowering enterprises that are on the cutting edge of innovation to meet their goals of positively impacting people and the planet. Queen City Forward envisions a transformation across the region, where a world-class cluster of creative minds is scaling for-profit companies and non-profit enterprises that are not only contributing thousands of jobs to the economy but are contributing in meaningful and measurable ways to improving the local and global community.