There has to be a better way.
That’s really what innovation boils down to, isn’t it? Those seven little words.
For John Osborne, the question was how to connect those in need of capital to those who have it. The answer lies within 21st Century tools.
John has already brought both Funding Charleston and The Harbor Accelerator, a 14-week mentorship program, to the table. Even a brief conversation with him reveals that his ideas aren’t tapped out yet. This is a man who is always thinking to the future, looking at what’s happening in the world of business and finance, watching the movement of bills in the statehouse, planning his next move.
He graduated Cum Laude from Charleston Southern, playing golf for the school, and eventually ended up at The Moore School of Business at USC. He accumulated a decade of experience in the world of banking before launching Funding Charleston.
“There’s still more education needed on how to start and grow a business that is attractive to outside investors,” he says.
The Harbor Accelerator, of which he is co-founder, addresses exactly that by pairing new businesses with mentors, fitting as much learning as possible into a short time frame. The idea is to get start-ups past that crucial initial hump so they can become viable entities, profitable to themselves and beneficial to the local economy.
“If you have the ability to start your business anywhere in the world, Charleston is a pretty good place to consider,” he says. “The natural attributes Charleston has as a community are impressive.”
He’s closely watching the legal landscape evolve in relation to privately held companies and how they may be funded.
“As a community, if we want innovation, if we want to support start-ups, we need to be willing to give our support. We need to be willing to buy those products and services and give them that chance.”
Words by: Jason A. Zwiker
Photography by: Mark Pelekakis