Have you ever wanted to know where all of the latest carnival festivities were in your neighborhood or town? Did you run into challenges with Facebook’s events page and find that word of mouth from friends, cousins, and aunties just didn’t quite capture all of the events that were actually going on? Fortunately, Virgin Islander, Leon Perkins hopes to mitigate those challenges with his new company, Everyday Carnival™. Everyday Carnival will provide information on all of the latest carnival events in your area and one day, it’s Leon’s hope that it provides event details for carnivals around the world.
This summer’s Cohort 2 of Accelerate VI is filled with founders of all stages working to grow their start-ups and learn unique lessons through workshops and sessions with mentors who hold sector expertise. In an interview with Everyday Carnival Founder, Leon Perkins, we learn about why he started his company, what he gained from his Accelerate VI experience, and what he dreams of for his young company’s future.
How did you know that you wanted to start your own business?
Leon Perkins: From a long time ago I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I never really took the leap until I realized that I wasn’t being myself. I realized that there's more to life than just doing the regular 8 to 5. I decided to take that leap because I really didn’t want to do an 8 to 5 for too long so I decided to start a business and try to work on myself.
What or who were some important influences that inspired this venture?
Leon Perkins: I would probably say my son because I miss him when I go off to work, so for me, I think having the opportunity to make my own flexible schedule makes it better for me to interact with him and to go out there and do something that I truly like and love makes the work experience even better.
How many years have you been working on your company?
Leon Perkins: Under a year, we started in November 2019.
So even though it’s been less than a year, I feel like there’s so much you have to do in under a year just to get your business running.
Leon Perkins: To even be noticed it feels like you have to do a lot in a small period of time but at the same time, you feel like you’re not doing enough and that's when you start to compare yourself to others. However, to fix this I take a step back and I continue to reassure myself that I’m doing enough and will do enough in the future.
What are the most valuable skills and tools you gained from the RTPark Accelerator? How have they helped you?
Leon Perkins: The accelerator experience for me has been an eyeopener. I think Eric [Sonnier, Director of Business Attraction and Entrepreneurship at the RTPark] has the best quote: “if you don't know, you don't know”. I also learned how to operate on a business spectrum as far as getting funding or just needing information about funding and investors. That was a big thing for me because I didn’t even know I needed investors until I knew I needed investors because for me to scale I definitely know I can’t do it by myself at this moment. So when he brought that, those kinds of decisions kind of broadened my spectrum of what it takes.
How has the Accelerator program helped, how is it like to interact with these other founders who are in other stages of their business’ development?
Leon Perkins: I think being in the accelerator program helped me. My company is basically less than a year in and being in classes with Founders who are further ahead helps me understand where my company is and where my company needs to be. I always thought my company was very young but then when you realize there are companies that have been around for maybe two, three, four years, and they’re still considered young I realized that I'm still in the infant stage whereas they are in the toddler stage. So I'm more intrigued at the thought that I get to understand where they are and understand where I need to be and continue on to reach to that level and continue making progress.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your company?
Leon Perkins: My biggest challenge was knowing what everybody’s looking for. For example, if I created a website first then that might have been a great start versus creating a website and an application together. Learning from all of the mentors that I met through the accelerator, maybe I should’ve started with just one portion and then built on that instead of starting with two things.
Tell us about your team - how did you find the right people to start Everyday Carnival with?
Leon Perkins: I think that's one of the other things the program showed me. I’m by myself and some of the other founders have a team so they spoke about how to influence others to be on my team. That way it won’t be me on my own because sometimes it is difficult as far as making sure I get deadlines completed. and For me, the way that [the other founders] spoke about how you can influence others to be on your team is very important in the long run because I know I can’t do this by myself two or three years down the road. Also, maybe there are people that are good at their jobs but not good for your team. So when we spoke about those kinds of situations and having that team and that cohesion that really put it in perspective.
What advice would you offer a young person that wants to start their own tech company?
Leon Perkins: I would say just start. I actually thought about this idea in maybe 2016 but I only started last year, reason being I really didn't think it was going to be enough. Then when I actually took the leap I realized that it was. So for me, I would just say take the leap. At the end of the day…make it what you want it to be.
What is your vision for Everyday Carnival in the future?
Leon Perkins: My vision is for it to be a household name in every different island, country, or state. I want it to be able to highlight every single carnival. There are about 101 carnivals globally and I want to have a foothold in at least 90% of them.
Join us Thursday, July 23rd as Leon and the other founders in Accelerate VI’s second cohort share their pitches for their companies. They will be available to answer your questions live at 6 pm EST. Register here: https://mailchi.mp/uvirtpark/demo-day-2020