ImpactU Mentor Spotlight: Zach Cardais
Like any good initiative, ImpactU takes a village. Our mentors are a huge part of the effort we put into helping our young entrepreneurs succeed, so we wanted to introduce one of them to you. Zach Cardais is mentor to Win-kel founders Yoshi and Alex. Read on to find out more about his experience as an entrepreneur in Charlotte and how he leverages that experience for the benefit of ImpactU students.
How did you get your start as an entrepreneur?
I started my own college textbook store right out of college back in 2006. CP Textbooks was the off-campus bookstore servicing CPCC students (located in Downtown Charlotte on Charlottetowne Ave.). We grew it from zero to $2M in revenue in just a couple years. A big college textbook chain company, Nebraska Book Company, bought us after a few years. Starting CP Textbooks was an amazing experience—there’s something that happens every day in my life that I can relate back to something I learned at CPT. After the success at CPT, I was hooked on the entrepreneurial life.
How did you get in touch with Queen City Forward?
My current company, Zeffective, shared an office wall with Queen City Forward at Hygge Coworking. I had coffee with Charles Thomas—I told him my story and asked how I could be more involved in Charlotte’s startup community…a few minutes later I was talking with Christie about ImpactU and its mentor program.
What is involved with your role as a mentor to ImpactU?
Yoshi and Alex are college students (Yoshi recently graduated). When I was their age, I was lucky enough to have a couple mentors to help me run a successful company. One of the most invaluable lessons that my mentors taught me was the concept of focus and the role it plays in accomplishing your goals. You have to focus on “the main thing” every day, every week, every month. From the outset, I viewed my mentorship role with Win-kel as one to instill this sense of focus on them. What are your 3-, 6- and 12-month goals? What are you doing today/this week/this month? How does that help you accomplish your goals?
What is your favorite part about mentoring?
I especially enjoy the collaboration and giving back, as well as continually learning. College “kids” are fun.
What do you hope to help Win-kel accomplish?
I want to help Yoshi and Alex accomplish two things: 1) Identify their target market, and 2) define a viable business model to not only grow but prosper.