Founded in 2011, Mustard Seed Development is a community-based business that specializes in real estate development/construction on the near West Side of Cleveland. The company renovates quality, affordable housing for low income, refugee and immigrant families and also hires and trains refugees and immigrants in construction skills, empowering them to start their own businesses and/or buy housing in the future.
Owner Daryl Anderson is also a part of JumpStart’s Core City: Cleveland Impact Program, an intensive business assistance program designed to support the development and growth of businesses located within Cleveland’s core neighborhoods.
We recently sat down with Daryl to discuss how his business got started, his Impact Program experience and his future plans.
1. What inspired you to create your business and what separates you from your competition?
It’s a funny story. I bought a big house and needed labor quick! I didn’t know anything about temp agencies, so I just wanted into a local refugee agency and told them I needed six people tomorrow for a job. They said they could provide the labor, but they were also looking to house people and it started a really beautiful relationship.
Since we specialize in providing high-quality, affordable rental properties to refugees and immigrants and we have the language skills on staff necessary to communicate effectively with communities (French and Swahili in particular), we really don’t have a lot of competition.
2. How did you get connected with the Core City: Cleveland program?
A friend of my mother’s works for a nonprofit that has worked with JumpStart. She told me about Startup Scaleup, which I attended, and Core City: Cleveland, which I applied for. My biggest takeaway has been working with advisors who can give me an outside perspective on my business as I’m trying to grow and offer critiques that I just don’t think of.
3. What do you think is the most important thing Core City: Cleveland offers to entrepreneurs?
The best thing the program offers is the advisors. An entrepreneur can pay for an advisor or try to find a friend to help, but a program that provides someone who has the credentials and has probably already walked in our shoes is a really big thing.
4. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who might be considering reaching out?
Any entrepreneurs who want to grow their business to the next level should connect with JumpStart because there are tools here that will help you move in that direction.
5. What are your future plans for your business?
Our plans are to grow. Right now, we finish 12-15 properties a year. In the short term I want to bring that to 20 and five years from now I’d love to be doing this work in different parts of the country and also doing some development work in African and/or Asia as well.