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Setiz Taheri might be considered a serial entrepreneur. But all of his ventures have one thing in common: centering community.
“I’m just a regular guy from the neighbourhood who figured out a way to be creative and kinda enjoy redefining what community work looks like”, says Taheri.
As humble as he is, that means forging his own path, while also encouraging people to get involved. That is how La Rue Inspire, a collective of creative, engages the community, and always in an innovative manner. “Our main focus is community building and raising awareness on social issues. We feel the impact of our communities specifically, whether it’s through artistic projects, short films, events, or community initiatives”, explains the entrepreneur.
This is maybe what Setiz Taheri does best: partnering and collaborating with people. “A real strength is to know other people’s strengths. I’ve got a lot of go theod people around me that do a lot of things better than me. So working with people is just the best way that you can put your best foot forward”, he asserts.
Tehari first sought out entrepreneurship to see what his skills were, or could be. “I went all the way to university, and it just wasn’t for me”. He found that the same thing was true oftraditional work environments. “I knew I could do better for myself”, he recalls. “You just have to create situations in which you can see that the possibilities are real”.
Which he did, starting with his abilities and interests at the time; at the beginning, that was by selling t-shirts out of his trunk. “I tried a lot of things. I failed a lot. And that felt like it was the real thing for me, and that it fit my personality”, he explains.
Now older, with a teenager of his own, he is committed to being not only a role model, but an active listener and champion of youth. “I think a lot of times, when it comes to our youth, we don’t let them be them. We kind of want to box them in and put them on a path that we feel is right. But that’s what the system does. We shouldn’t do that on top of what they’re going through already”, he states.
Rather, he says, we should encourage them to not only be themselves – but also the best version of themselves. That includes support when rules are broken “That’s real love – making sure you’re there for your people, for your community, for your family, no matter what goes on. And that’s kind of the foundation of everything that I do”, he says, drawing from his own experience. It is also what allows one to keep pushing and believe in oneself. “Even if you don’t fit the conventional mold, find your own way and build your own path”, asserts the entrepreneur.
In that regard, this also means being open to learning and receiving feedback, which doesn’t need to happen in a classroom. “The most important thing is to educate yourself, the number one thing in entrepreneurship”, he emphasizes, pointing to himself as an example. “I was around a lot of people who did a lot of good things. So I just took a little bit from everybody, to shape the entrepreneur and the human I wanted to become”.
For more tips on how to pave your way and create change, listen to the podcast episode « Entrepreneurship: An Alternate Career Path », on Spotify and Youtube.