‘Generation Startup’: Young Entrepreneurs Are In Focus In New Documentary

In the 2016 documentary “Generation Startup,” we see Dextina Booker in the sky-high, glassy office of Detroit’s Rock Ventures, the company where she oversees investments in startups and nonprofits in its home city and Cleveland. When she’s not at work, we watch as she pedals through the streets on her bike, stopping at a farmer’s market.

“It’s really hard not to get swept up in the whole idea of these large, sexy, scalable businesses, but there’s something comforting about small businesses,” Booker observes as she moves from table to table. “The person who gets up every day and sells their thrifted clothes or their handcrafted items and they’re really adding to the economy and creating jobs. Maybe not at the same scale, but they’re doing their part.”

Startups come in all shapes and forms, as seen in the film by Academy Award-winner Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller Houser. “Generation” follows a group of six recent college graduates in Detroit as they grow their businesses. They range from Labib Rahman, who despite the opposition of his family, is the first employee of a new startup that builds smart phones and tablets to Avery Hairston, founder of a chickpea pasta company, Banza.

This Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Nightlight (30 North High St.) in Akron, there will be a screening of the film and a panel hosted by Akron is for Entrepreneurs, which is supported by the Fund for our Economic Future.

“The film is showing more of the gritty, behind-the-scenes parts of being an entrepreneur that you don’t see on the outside,” says Akron Entrepreneurship Fellow, Heather Roszczyk.

Panel participants include Venture for America fellow MJ Wilson, who is working at Cleveland’s JumpStart, Ryan Pritt of Pritt Entertainment Group, Brent Wesley of Akron Honey Company, who recently appeared on the LeBron James “Cleveland Hustles” television show, and Courtney Gras, the cofounder of tech startup Design Flux Technologies and executive director of Launch League.

The panel will tackle day-to-day hurdles faced by locals who decided to set their sails for entrepreneurship. Roszczyk points to moments like the opening scene of “Generation,” where Rahman sits around the dinner table with his parents, struggling immigrants who lament his decision to risk everything on a startup rather than use his biomedical engineering degree for a stable, high-paying job.

Read the full story at Cleveland.com.