Creating social entrepreneurs

Published: Mar. 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2013 at 2:03 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - He started out wanting to work in a restaurant.

Now Barry Francois' experience in the kitchen as a chef is taking him out into the community.

"I always wanted to be an entrepreneur," said Barry.

Barry Francois saw a need for access to fresh fruits and vegetables in many Charlotte neighborhoods and is now in the process of creating his own start up business.

"It will be a mobile farmers market," said Barry.

"People actually come on the truck and shop and it will make different stops in communities."

But getting this idea to fruition is a lot for just one person.

"It's been a struggle," said Barry.

"Queen City Forward has helped a lot, made a lot of connections with different people."

Queen City Forward is a hub for social entrepreneurs to pool their resources and make their projects possible.

Charles Thomas the Executive Director of Queen City Forward said "We bring these entrepreneurs together and we provide programming and activities and experiences to help them grow their business."

"We provide pathways to capital so we help these companies whether they're not profit or for profit we help them to pitch their ideas for funding from investors."

But it's not all just business, their common bond is a passion to give back.

"These are entrepreneurs that are conscious about serving the community and changing the community and solving community issues," said Charles.

"And they use business principles and models to create that."

Fruits of labor that have a special meaning to this budding entrepreneur.

"I've been chef for 14 years, I've made a lot of happy memories but I haven't' helped anybody," said Barry.

"Now I just want to help."

Barry Francois is hoping to have the mobile farmers market up and running by July with the winnings from last year's Charlotte Shapers Business competition.

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