Entrepreneur Founder Anthony Valentine was inspired to found a startup after mentoring Connecticut high school students. He created the Kulture brand and Kulture Magazine as tools to inspire creativity and innovation for high school and college-aged students.
Kulture is participating in the 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator, which is designed for entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development.
Anthony told Innovation Destination Hartford about the many ways his startup is working to make making a social impact.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: Tell us about Kulture. How did you come up with the concept?
ANTHONY VALENTINE: During my senior year at Central Connecticut State University, I began reflecting on the purpose of my existence and the way I can best impact the world. I referenced my early high school years as a period of growth and development where my perspective and the trajectory of my life were exercised.
Outside of my teachers, counselors, and family I yearned for a resource I could identify with. A resource that would appeal to my age group’s preferences in addition to presenting stories celebrating individuality, success, self-expression, and self-worth.
After mentoring in several high schools in Connecticut, I identified that the young adults of today are facing the same struggles I faced, but in a varied manor. A resource was needed and the resource became Kulture.
IDH: When did you launch the magazine?
AV: I launched Kulture Magazine in 2016 to fill that void, providing content that will feed the interests, hunger, and knowledge bank of high school and college-aged audiences.
The Mission of Kulture Magazine is to showcase fashion, art, hobbies, music, life, and innovation for the high school and college-aged audience. By presenting tasteful articles and artwork, the magazine aims to inspire these individuals to identify, develop, and leverage their own talents; become positive contributors in their communities; and continue the pursuit of knowledge and the education of self.
IDH: Who has inspired you most when it comes to how you approach entrepreneurship?
AV: Entrepreneurship has always been a big part of my life. From an early age, before I ever identified myself as an entrepreneur, I sold hand-painted T-shirts on the sidewalk of my grandmother’s residence. I don’t remember selling out, but the next week of middle school I had a customized shirt for every day of the week.
As the years progressed, I became aware of my abilities and my interest to create impact. I love generating ideas and brainstorming ways to create efficiency and positive social impact.
As far as my approach to entrepreneurship, I owe it to my mother, who introduced me to certain perspectives and disciplines of life; my grandmother who introduced me to faith, belief, persistence, and hard work; and my grandfather, one of the few male role models in my life, for gracing me with the opportunity to witness compassion and patience firsthand.
My approach of entrepreneurship isn’t limited to these family members. My approach to entrepreneurship has been seasoned by almost every person I’ve encountered in my life.
I learned a valuable lesson from Larry Hall, Director of Admission at Central Connecticut State University, during a visit. He mentioned that his father, who is a retired sanitation worker for the City of Hartford, was his role model, inspiration, and mentor. The thought of his father being a “garbage man” didn’t always sit well with Larry as a youth because of the image that went along with it. But one thing was for sure, food was always on the table, bills were taken care of, and Larry had a role model. This experience taught him that no person should ever be dismissed in conversation. Why? Because a wise man can learn from a fool what makes one a fool, and a wise man can learn from another wise man what makes one wise.
In summary, my approach to entrepreneurship is leveraging my life’s encounters by using the wisdom I’ve gathered along the way to make a social impact on the world.
IDH: What makes your company unique?
AV: Today, real and fake are becoming more and more distorted. We live in a world where the access of information, no matter the impact negative or positive, is accessible without filtration.
With the presence of mass media and the influence it has on the daily lives of society, Kulture stands firm with having an identity of being real. Kulture is unique because it prides itself on the ideals of achievement, leadership, individuality, hope, and faith. Kulture is concerned about the future of a diversified world. Also, Kulture is unique because it’s spelled with a K.
IDH: In what ways is Kulture making a social impact?
AV: I strongly believe that authentic social impact provides a live and direct component in addition to other methods of outreach. Kulture doesn’t limit itself by providing just a magazine as a resource.
The Kulture brand takes social impact a few steps further by incorporating speaking presentations that are developed around inspiration, hope, and education of self and journey.
Kulture is continually seeking innovative ways to increase its social impact for the years to come.
IDH: What do you hope to gain from participating in the reSET accelerator?
AV: Connecticut is filled with talent, innovation, and resources. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be informed about the reSET accelerator.
I can remember sitting with Sue Glasspeigal, a business advisor of mine, and her mention of the program. I overlooked it because I couldn’t remember the last time I got accepted to something outside of college. I defeated myself based on past experiences when it costs nothing to try. And I am happy that I did try. The program has been a token of light for the Kulture brand.
As Kulture develops, I can honestly say that reSET and the individuals in association will have been a big contributor to the success of my company.
IDH: Any advice for entrepreneurs or startup business owners?
AV: I have 10 tips for entrepreneurs, which are available in Issue One of Kulture Magazine, but, I will share five:
- Wake up: The dream was just the idea. Now is the time to start.
- By the way, there’s no “perfect time” to start.
- Have faith: A majority of things in life we can’t control.
- Coincidences are more like pre-destined footprints coming in alignment. Be thankful for them!
- Write everything down: All ideas become useful.
IDH: Where do you see your startup one year from now?
AV: In one year, I envision Kulture beginning its expansion into a fourth state—California, New Jersey, or New York. I envision Kulture being distributed within 50 to 70 high schools and 50 community businesses across the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
I envision Kulture helping the development of creators and innovators across the northeast. I envision Kulture being a large resource of hope, faith, and growth for young adults increasing self-esteem and confidence. I envision Kulture being the voice of the youth. I envision Kulture being well respected by individuals of all walks of life because of its vision and its message. Lastly, I see Kulture developing brand extensions such as short films that will build Kulture as a media enterprise.
With its distribution extending into Connecticut and Western Massachusetts high schools and community businesses, Kulture Magazine aims to expand geographically with the intent on becoming a nationwide household name.
Learn more about Kulture and read past issues of Kulture Magazine at www.kulturemag.com.
Learn about 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator participants:
- Hopewell Health Solutions – Social Impact Startup Provides Innovative Health Treatment Solutions
- Impact Mart — Social Entrepreneurship Startup with a Mission to Solve Global Issues
- Supply InSight, Inc. — Social Impact Startup Provides RFID Solutions
- WEWOOL — Social Impact Startup with a Mission to Help the Homeless