Carlos Sanchez IS Free Enterprise
Monday, June 7 was no ordinary day for Carlos Sanchez, entrepreneur, fitness coach, blogger and Community Business Academy (CBA) graduate. While taking his daughter to school, Carlos received a phone call from the US Chamber of Commerce, informing him that he had won the $50,000 grand prize in their “I am Free Enterprise” video contest. Carlos first heard about the competition from reading the February and March Rising Tide Capital (RTC) newsletters where we announced the competition to our entrepreneurs, and we are thrilled that he has been able to take advantage of this remarkable opportunity!
After learning about the contest, Carlos took a little time to find out some more about it, and realized that he had a pretty good shot at doing really well. “I always wanted the opportunity to tell my story,” he said. “The competition gave me the extra push to do so.” In order to win, Carlos not only had to create his video submission, but also endure three arduous rounds of judging. Since two of the rounds were based on the total number of views his video received on YouTube and on viewer votes, Carlos had to orchestrate and execute a social media campaign on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and his email list, constantly reminding his friends and fans to vote for him every day. While this was no small task, Carlos had already built a following on these platforms through both of his businesses, SneakGeekz and Maplewood Bootcamps. He was able to leverage his social media presence to great success.
On July 14, Carlos, along with his family will fly in to Washington DC to be awarded his prize at a US Chamber of Commerce Job Summit and Luncheon. While he says he is still a bit shocked that he won the competition, he intends to invest in his businesses and lower his debt with his prize.
His future plans include continuing to grow his SneakGeekz brand by expanding online advertising with his sneaker blogs and YouTube videos, and to continue to expand his boot camp. “I like the idea of being a socially responsible entrepreneur,” said Carlos. “My bootcamp is completely green, because it is out of doors. It keeps my expenses down, but more importantly, I have next to no carbon footprint. All of the equipment I use is geared towards outdoor training.” Carlos really wants his life to be an example to young people, and his SneakGeekz blogs and videos allow him to talk to people just like him, using his sneaker collection as a point of reference. “I love coaching people,” he said. “I am definitely going to continue to use my story to continue to motivate others.”
Carlos, who graduated from the CBA in 2008, says he is grateful for his experience at Rising Tide Capital for quite a few reasons. “The Community Business Academy was an incredible experience,” he noted. “I’d been in business for years, but knew very little about the basics of business. The course completely built my confidence as a business person. But the best thing about my experience with Rising Tide Capital has been the constant support after I graduated from the CBA. You can always call to get guidance. And of course, I would never have heard about the Chamber of Commerce competition had it not been for Rising Tide Capital.”