This Senior In College Shares What He’s Learned As a Startup Founder

Studies show that Millennials and Generation Z-ers are the generation of entrepreneurs. Every day, individuals in both demographics are launching new startups and building small businesses that are impacting the world and the communities they live in.

One young entrepreneur that’s decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship is Antenhe Tena, a Senior in college studying Information Tech Infrastructure, Computer Science, and Communications. His startup, Tena-Made Media, helps entrepreneurs and professionals jump start their digital presence through content creation, marketing, outreach, and other digital marketing services.

This young entrepreneur’s journey started back in 8th grade when he began to teach himself the basic functions of media equipment. By the end of high school, this young entrepreneur had began the brand Tena-Made Media, and began associating all his work to the brand and label. It was not until his freshman year of college that he began to discover a gap in the market where he could form and develop his niche. A proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., his first job was to shoot the frat’s probate video. From there other student organizations and local businesses began to reach out and request his services. The job was quickly requiring more hands.

How did your interest turn into a business?

“As school started picking up and clients were lined up, I realized that I needed help in every other department other than video production. It was hard to attend client meetings, draft up contracts, collect payments, send invoices, scout for more clients, and all the other tasks entailed by running and sustaining a business.”

“It was during winter break of my sophomore year I decided to reach out to 5 individuals to help me grow and manage Tena Made Media. These individuals were Iyasu Tefera, Khay Ross, Natnail Mamo, Exavius Tucker-Shabazz, and Yosi Abate. These young men were more than my closest friends. They all had passion in what they did, their skill set was very diverse, they all had different experiences under their belt, and I saw the potential of everyone. We eventually all became business partners and divided up the work that Tena Made Media presented us with. We then started expanding the marketing aspect of Tena Made Media, coming up business plans, prospect clients, framework development, and emerge entailed by expansion.”

Why Entrepreneurship? What Does it Mean to You?

“To me, entrepreneurship is a way to practice a major portion of America’s freedom. A reason why most diasporas are here. I feel as if a lot of people my age don’t realize the entrepreneurship opportunity we have here in the [United] States. I went back to Ethiopia in the summer of 2017 and I noticed many individuals with brilliant business ideas, ideas to help the community, ideas to empower one another, and a remarkable education, however, due to the state of the country it was difficult, if not impossible to bring those ideas to life. I see entrepreneurship as a means to make my college degree to work for me, my morals, my goals, and values. I eventually want to invest not only capital, but labor, and ideas to the country of Ethiopia. In the meantime, I plan to practice entrepreneurship, learning as much as I can, build my capital, and increase the depth of my network. “

Natnail Mamo, Antenhe Tena, Yosi Abate

What are some hardships in the media company?

“An ongoing hardship is the task of making sure everyone on the Tena-Made Team is on the same page. When it’s time to make important decisions we can at times have up to 6 different opinions that completely disagree with one another. Being able to, as a team, acknowledge one another’s input and come to a decision can be challenging at times. We have an amazing guide and mentor, Lance Knuckles, who gives advice on how we should go about things. We always consult to individuals in our personal life who have dealt with or are currently dealing with the same issues. This way we are getting a dynamic set of inputs while improving our networking skills.”

Lastly, what is your advice to other young entrepreneurs?

“(1) Identify your niche and your skills early on. Chose one or two skills you feel passionate about and want to work on perfecting. Once you perfect your craft the rewards will come, let it speak for you and soon to be business. Also, be patient. It can be very easy to chase my money right off the bat. It might be the ultimate goal but you want to think and plan for tomorrow, wait to pay your self. In my case, the work that I did virtually marketed itself. You want people to look at your service, or product and say “I need to invest my hard earned money in that product or service.” 

(2) Additionally, identify your support system early on. These individuals are there to test your product/service, give you feedback, invest in your product/service , and support you and your ideas. However; also keep in mind that not everyone thinks like you. I read this thing somewhere on social media and it stuck with me, it goes something like, “don’t expect your big ideas to fit in small minds”. The way I interpret it is, don’t expect everyone to see the vision. You seeing it alone is enough to make it a reality. Because then you are relying on the most important person in the world to bring it to life, yourself. Then it becomes up to you and you only to make it happen, that’s when your passion is put to work.”

(3) [Do what makes you happy.] ” I see Tena Made Media as the first step to leading by example. In America, in 2019 it is beyond possible to be successful in anything you are passionate about. It is okay to feel uncomfortable about where you are in life, in fact, you should always be uncomfortable. As an immigrant from Ethiopia, I noticed the abundance of opportunities to do anything you set your mind to. I wasn’t seeing enough people my age going out of their way to do something great, something that made them happy, something they were passionate about. “

Written by Sina K.

Sina K is a recent graduate and Engineer at one of the top aerospace companies in the world. Along with writing, her passions include increasing minority presence in the tech and STEM community and promoting financial literacy and independence in our communities.