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Generation Startup takes us to the front lines of entrepreneurship in America, capturing the struggles and triumphs of six recent college graduates who put everything on the line to build startups in Detroit. Shot over 17 months, it's an honest, in-the-trenches look at what it takes to launch a startup. Directed by Academy Award winner Cynthia Wade and award-winning filmmaker Cheryl Miller Houser, the film celebrates risk-taking, urban revitalization, and diversity while delivering a vital call-to-action-with entrepreneurship at a record low, the country's economic future is at stake.
An accurate look at the struggles of entrepreneurship.
With regards to the new documentary GENERATION STARTUP, let me just reiterate what my colleague once said to me a long time ago.. if entrepreneurship was easy, everybody would do it. But the fact of the matter is that it's not easy, it's far from easy, it's actually very very hard and GENERATION STARTUP manages to honestly and faithfully capture that level of difficulty through the lens of these few young struggling idealistic folks with big dreams.
Directed by Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller Houser, GENERATION STARTUP chronicles six recent college graduates that take risks to launch their own businesses, despite everybody around them, including their own family members, telling them that they should take a steady job instead. But the film is more than just about that, since it's set in Detroit, you also get to see how these six people struggle in a neighborhood that many see as a lost cause, on top of trying to start up something in a country where entrepreneurship is at a record low.
I really like this documentary mainly because I can relate to it, I too myself am a struggling entrepreneur, and so I understand what these six folks featured in this film go through. Some of them start from scratch, while some work for a very new company that once started from scratch, so the risk is still there because if that company folds, there goes their job. One character in particular comes from a strict religious background and his parents are financially on a tough spot, so being the eldest in the family, he has to choose between pursuing his dreams or taking a job that he knows would ease his parents' burdens. I commend directors Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller Houser for wisely selecting which folks, which stories to cover for this docu, and so the result is this range of life experiences that can tap into different audiences. But diversity in GENERATION STARTUP is not only in terms of ethnic background or race, but also the differences in personalities, what I appreciate that this film points out is that nobody can run a startup on their own, you need partners, you need a team. One example in the film shows the person leaving his team member because it's clear that he has been sidelined, so he moves on to launch another startup with his own brother.
The key is having somebody to work with in addition to receiving moral support from your loved ones because often times, being an entrepreneur means not having a steady income because you're focusing your time and energy on that one thing, so the question remains is in the meantime, how are you going to pay the bills? Things get even more complex when you have employees, how are you going to pay them? So on and so forth, GENERATION STARTUP doesn't leave a single stone unturned, whether you're on the side of the parents, always worried and concerned, you're pessimistic about the prospect of a startup, or you're on the side of these idealistic young fellas and cheering for them because you think they're the embodiment of capitalistic America, this film simply wants to show you, without pre-conceived judgment and without sounding cliché, that even in a place like Detroit that has been dismissed by many, dreams can be possible, but it's a long hard walk to the top if you want to be an entrepreneur.
-- Rama's Screen --
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