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Bold Builders: Jasmine Crowe, Founder of Goodr

Nathalie Molina Niño’s column Bold Builders features “impact entrepreneurs building things that matter.” This is the first piece in her series.

Jasmine Crowe is the CEO of Goodr, a waste management and hunger company that redirects surplus food from businesses to nonprofits that can share it with those who are food insecure.

Jasmine is one of those leaders who is an entrepreneur because she just can’t help but be one. For people like Jasmine, when she sees a problem, she immediately starts thinking about how to solve it. Jasmine began hosting formal pop-up dinners for the homeless in Atlanta in 2013, and it took years before her efforts – to her surprise – went viral in 2016. People kept asking her which restaurants were donating the food. The answer was none – she was taking volunteer donations and, in some cases, spending her own money to make these dinners happen. Her early iterations led her to the realization that hunger is not a scarcity problem, it’s a logistics issue. So Goodr was born: an app that allows clients to monetize surplus packaged food before it expires, while also giving transportation companies extra revenue on otherwise empty cargo loads. Her ingenuity and ability to build a bridge to users who are usually ignored are unparalleled. And we’ll need Jasmine and leaders like her to solve some of the most urgent issues of our time.

Jasmine Crowe of Goodr

Jasmine Crowe; Photo courtesy of Goodr

What fuels you as an entrepreneur?

I am fueled by having the unique opportunity to create my path and build a company that makes a difference in this world.

Your company, Goodr, will celebrate five years in business next year. Most companies don’t make it past the first five. What’s your biggest lesson from the last five years as a founder of an impactful Certified B Corporation?

My biggest lesson is to give myself grace. These five years have been tough; I lost a lot of sleep and experienced a lot of stress. I have learned that I have to give myself more grace in this journey. This is the most important thing I have ever done in my life, but you have to be mindful to care for yourself.

Every founder has a rejection or the memory of a naysayer that they remember; what’s yours? What did they say you wouldn’t do or succeed at, and how have you defied the odds?

I am a founder that probably hears no more than most, still until this day. I am solving hunger and food waste, global problems. Recently, someone told me they didn’t think the problem I was solving was big enough. Someone else once told me hunger was already being solved.

Women in front of Goodr Food Van

Photo courtesy of Goodr

Of all the industries and demographics you could have focused on, why focus on logistics and ending hunger?

I have been vested in fighting hunger now for almost a decade. This is personal to me. As a black woman, I am not blind to the fact that hunger disproportionately affects people of color, and I wanted to break this cycle and truly help people. This is my passion and purpose in life.

This is personal to me. As a black woman, I am not blind to the fact that hunger disproportionately affects people of color, and I wanted to break this cycle and truly help people.

You’re about to hit another milestone; you’re about to raise another round and launch a new product. As you set your intentions for how that next phase looks and feels like, what are your priorities?

My biggest priority right now is building the best team possible. We have the opportunity to solve a huge problem and change the world, but the team I build now will be more critical than ever.

Jasmine Crowe of Goodr at TED

Jasmine Crowe speaking at TED, 2019

What is a misconception about you that you’d like to set straight?

I would set straight the notion that it’s been, and is, easy for me. I think there’s this belief that everything has been so perfect, and the truth is it’s been very hard.

Partnerships in any business are important, but they can make your business as much as they can break it. So what’s the most important thing you consider when evaluating whether or not to partner with someone in any aspect of your business?

I love mission-aligned partners, people who have the same end goals as me, and partners that want to see me win and vice versa.

What keeps you grounded?

My family, I am a new mom, and sometimes no matter how terrible the day is, I love coming home to my family and having some moments of peace.

What do you want people who interact with Goodr to feel?

I want people to feel dignity and care. Those are most important to me.

Goodr Team Members

In what ways do you feel you were supported to set and achieve big goals as a child? How can we be better at empowering young girls to do the same?

For example, I think my parents allowed me to try new things and often. This allowed me to feel like I had the chance to become who I was, authentically. Likewise, I think we can empower young girls by fostering opportunities to explore what drives them and help them find their passions.

What outcomes do you hope for, for women in the global business community?

I hope women truly get their seat at the table in leadership roles and access to funding. It’s way past time. Enough talk already.

What one piece of advice would you give an entrepreneur looking to follow in your footsteps in building an ethical, long-view business?

Get started! It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If you are doing something positive every day, you are in business, the world is better for it. Never forget that.

Nathalie Molina Niño is Managing Director at Known Holdings. She is an investor (Builder Capitalist), author, educator and retired global tech entrepreneur.

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