Mini City has continued a strong year after its completion of The Farm accelerator program in June and has since won several notable awards and recognition. Mini City provides technology solutions to help our nation’s homeless obtain identification and connect to much needed benefits, such as housing, government assistance, and employment.
We chatted with Hayes to discuss her steady rise as a startup during challenging times and how she’s able to rise above any barriers.
Q. You’ve accomplished a great deal in a short time-span, to what do you attribute your success?
A. I attribute our current successes during this difficult year to persistence and compassion. Mini City has seen most of our business growth occur during this pandemic, because we are addressing a vital need for the most vulnerable in our nation. The startup world is very difficult, and social impact space even more so. You truly have to have the flexibility to learn from your business “failures” and turn them into lessons learned. From a social impact perspective, you have to have the heart to stay committed and aligned to your mission as a social enterprise. I have also been really fortunate to have a wonderful support system, from my fellow team members (Herold Raymond, Sourabh Jha, Anita Jones) to phenomenal advisors within Comcast, Atlanta Tech Village, Goodie Nation, and other startup communities.
Q. What does it mean to be a female entrepreneur focused on social impact initiatives in today’s society?
A. As a female founder of color that launched a social enterprise, I feel very close to some of the initiatives I have launched. Many of the citizens we have assisted have belonged to my community, which is a multilayered community. I think it is very important to have founders in social impact that are reflective of the community they are assisting so that informed decisions are made. As a female founder, I will not automatically have all of the answers to assist all women in need, but it is a strong foundation of understanding. I still have to do the work as a female founder of color to make sure I am addressing real pain points in the communities and customers I work with, but I do think diverse + female founded teams are critical in social impact. I also think it’s critical for young women and girls to see female founders flourishing across the globe, so that becomes an attainable norm for all women.
Q. Mini City you’ve positively impacted many homeless in Atlanta, what have you learned from servicing them?
A. While working within Mini City and our nation’s most vulnerable group (the homeless), I have learned that many Americans experiencing homelessness are truly isolated, and many Americans are just a few incidents away from experiencing homelessness. I have learned to not assume, even if I have good intentions, anything. The trend of isolation is strong for the communities we serve; a youth that was thrown out of their home due to their sexuality; a wife that is escaping domestic violence, a veteran that has outlived his family, an elderly person with medical bills they are unable to pay– these are all recurring themes of being without a support system, or left in isolation. Mini City is seeking to disrupt these cycles of isolation, and empower + support individuals towards sustainability.
Q. Out of all of your most recent accomplishments, what has been your greatest to the growth of your company?
A. Our proudest accomplishment has been enrolling homeless citizens into what our partner sites call Healthy Wellness Hotels. The hotel sites were set up in an emergency response to house individuals at risk for COVID (due to preexisting conditions, their age, and above all due to being homeless). This was a huge effort that was done across our nation, and Mini City’s ability to enroll entire hotels was extremely rewarding. From a business perspective, we were meeting the most critical needs of our customers. As a team, we were doing something compassionate for our community — this is what I love about doing the work I have set out to do.
The Farm proudly salutes Mini City for their recent wins in funding, customer acquisition, partnerships and hats off to the additional TEDx coverage. Great work Mini City! For more information about Mini City visit www.minicityatl.com or follow them on social @minicityatl.
- View Mini City’s Co-Founder, India Hayes deliver a phenomenal TEDx talk on the Homeless
- Mini City named REVOLT TV (Sean “Diddy” Combs Enterprise For the Culture 2020 Winner
- 2020 NBCUniversal Comcast Startup Cohort
- Morehouse JP Chase & Morgan Ascend2020
- 2020 Atlanta Inno 50 on Fire Blaze Winner
- 2020 GirlBossWinner
- 2019 Startup Runway Winner
- 2018 Startup Awards Nominee: Best Social Good Start Up