History 2

Exceed Network, formerly The Angel Fund, has a successful history of advising businesses and evolving to stay current with the changing times.


HISTORY

In the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, New York the Sephardic Jewish Community has put organizations in place for helping every imaginable ailment. Those needing financial aid, food, shelter or clothing are well taken care of. Schools, homes for the elderly, synagogues and help groups exist in abundance. Still, back in 2002, a person who was having business troubles or one wanting to dive into a business that he wasn’t quite sure of, was completely on his own.

The protocol at the time for a struggling businessman was to go to his dad, uncle or cousin. Sometimes dead ends sent him to friends or even strangers. Often, funds received by such a businessmen would be invested deeper into a pit of oblivion, “throwing good money after bad,” so to speak. Many knowledgeable people recognized this problem, and offered their help in mediation or with good advice, but few were willing to help on a broader basis. Finally, ten people gathered around a kitchen table and decided that there could be a better way.


FOUNDING

The Angel Fund was formed as a means of providing businesses with the advice they needed to succeed. The concept of “teaching a man to fish,” rather then handing him that “fish” was honored and abided by. Angel Fund did provide loans; both new and floundering businesses need money to flourish, but more importantly, Angel Fund ensured that those funds were accompanied by solid and constant guidance.

From the start, every client was paired with a guidance group, “Angels,” if you will. These are volunteers who give their time and energy willingly, often to those in very similar businesses. An industry expert as well as a general businessman is included on each team, and hours and hours of work go into every case and project. It’s hard to imagine, but many successful community members just want to help and “give back.” As the organization grew, so did the pool of volunteers willing to share their expertise. That’s the amazing part of everything Angel Fund stands for.


GROWTH

As part of Angel Fund’s expansion, the organization became certified as a Small Business Administration micro-lender, offering loans up to $50,000 to qualified businesses in Brooklyn and Manhattan. To get the word out about all that was being offered, “The Angel News” was started, a print magazine full of useful articles filled with advice, current trends, profiles of successful businesses, and relevant information to inspire people to enhance their businesses. The quality of the newspaper’s content made it one of the most anticipated community publications in print.

To meet the needs of the growing businesses, Angel Fund started producing events and programs and partnering with other organizations to generate funds and awareness. The Kingsborough Community College Kitchen Incubator program provided a community kitchen that helped culinary entrepreneurs.

This program highlighted the growing need of the community’s female entrepreneurs, and was the impetus for the launch of Ladies Angel Network, geared with specific approaches for young women juggling their time between family and business. Today the network reaches throughout the tri-state area and is tremendously popular and successful.

Finding success in the educating of people through live events, Angel Fund started producing a series of seminars and large scale meetings. Think Tank events were initiated where participants were individually paired with volunteers from a spectrum of different industries and encouraged to discuss new ideas both large and small. On some evenings we were honored with guest speakers such as Steve Roth from Vornado Realty, Rick Darling, president of LF USA, and Neil Cole, CEO and president of Iconix Brand Group.  These events were huge hits, drawing hundreds of top businessmen to our doors.


SEEING THE FUTURE

Of course, Angel Fund also wanted to encourage the young men and women with new and fresh ideas- even those still in college. To that effect, the Ultimate Entrepreneur Program and Young Professional Network were created. These business-coaching programs attracted a select group of highly motivated, hard-working, young entrepreneurs. Tech Stars Live, another Angel Fund program, showcased the professional development of 5 up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the technology industry.

Business Track: Steps to Success was another fabulous program offered in 2012. In a series of workshops, small business owners learned about increasing sales, understanding markets, negotiating, finance, and marketing.


TODAY

As the community’s needs change and businesses flourish in technology, e-commerce, and other sectors that must respond quickly to customers and trends, we are evolving our services to meet these needs. As of 2013, we have changed our name to Exceed Network. With this change comes a renewed commitment to helping a brand new generation of business owners, I hope we can do something for you, as well.