I got a chance to interview my good friend and social entrepreneur, Derrick See. He and I went to the NYU Stern School of Business together. While we both have strayed from the well-beaten path that is a “typical” post-Stern career, I admire the steps he has taken to following a passion by pursuing a meaningful venture that will collaborate with a community to grow and revitalize. He is the co-founder of New Creation NYC, a community bakery and coffee shop with a social mission in Inwood, Upper Manhattan. They have been working for several months to develop and scale their idea and have officially launched a Kickstarter project to find people who would like to support their venture. You can check out (and pledge!) here. With Derrick making preparations for a launch next year, I asked him for some time to share his experiences and knowledge with the CampusRiot audience. See our chat below!
PN: Who is Derrick See?
DS: A guy that wants to do things that matter and add some value to this world. A lover of food, wine, television, geeky stuff, and travel.
PN: What is New Creation NYC?
DS: New Creation is a coffee shop and bakery with a social mission. We are more than just coffee and cookies. We are about taking a traditional coffee shop business model and turning it into a center of community development and rejuvenation in Upper Manhattan, addressing issues like poverty and health.
PN: How did you get inspired to start New Creation while in college?
DS: I did some volunteer work in Washington Heights while in college. I got to see the neighborhood and meet many wonderful people, but it also revealed to me the many social problems the community was facing. I then met Mr. Jones, the director of the Love Kitchen (a soup kitchen located in Inwood), who shared with me his vision of building a bakery that would provide training and employment opportunities for the disadvantaged. It was such an appealing idea, that I decided to bring my passion for food and business to the table to help him make the dream a reality.
PN: New Creation is currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. Can you tell us a little more about that?
DS: We plan to lease a 3000 square feet space to build this community coffee shop in Inwood, but as recent college graduates, we lack the funds. Hence we are bringing it to our friends and family, and the Kickstarter community, to help us with the fundraising process. We hope that this will help us engage our supporters, and get the word out about the work we plan to do in Upper Manhattan.
PN: What advice do you have for college students looking to be entrepreneurs?
DS: Have a good support network before jumping into it. You need great friends and mentors to carry you through the ups and downs of starting a business. I am really blessed to have the greatest friends in the world (some might say the craziest), and a family that is supportive even though they probably think I am crazy (perhaps that is why I fit in so well with my crazy friends…).
PN: What advice did you wish you had while attending college?
DS: Take every opportunity available to travel and meet people from around the world. Do a semester abroad, more if possible. Do that road trip you have always talked about doing. Because that weekend away in Venice is a million times more fun than being on campus working on a group project.
PN: Any last words?
DS: Take a trip to Napa. Learn to enjoy wine. Life becomes a lot better with good wine. And no, I am not an alcoholic.
You heard from Derrick! Are you inspired to help him achieve his dream? Support New Creation NYC on Kickstarter!