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Marcus Bullock created his business Flikshop “as an accident.”
After spending eight years in prison, Bullock built up a successful construction company and landed major contracts such as at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
“My friends that were in prison — now that I was home and living this new, successful life — they wanted to be able to see what that looked like,” Bullock said.
“In prison, there’s no social media or no easy internet or any of those technologies.”
Now, his “accidental” creation has more than 170,000 users who have used Flikshop to communicate via postcard with incarcerated friends or family.
Bullock, one of the keynote speakers this week at EntreFEST, is hoping to inspire other entrepreneurs to take on social justice causes through their businesses.
He said business owners should be “thoughtful and intentional about what good we can bring in the world.”
Whether it’s a food truck vendor or a housing developer, “each one of these entrepreneurs have a social responsibility internally,” Bullock said.
There isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer for how each entrepreneur can develop a business that also tackles a social justice issue, though.
“I would love to be able to say that there’s a red or blue pill for any of us to be able to follow the outline for success in building out that kind of model,” Bullock said during a phone interview.
He said part of it requires more conversations about social justice in the business community, which he has seen increase recently.
“I’m grateful that we’re being very thoughtful about that in these days and times,” Bullock said. “The climate is continuing to change.”
Bullock will speak at EntreFEST at 9 a.m. Thursday, at the Olympic South Side Theater in Cedar Rapids. Tickets are available at entrefest.com/buy-ticket.
“I’m hoping that they’ll walk away and they’ll ask themselves the question, ’Well, how am I being thoughtful about this?’” Bullock said.
“Who are the surrounding players in my local community that I can attach the mission of our company, the vision of our growth strategy, that will allow us to be able to be impactful and helpful?”
The Gazette is a media sponsor of EntreFEST, a two-day event for entrepreneurship and innovation. This year’s programming will be a hybrid of live and online speakers and conversations.
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