Entrepreneur Word: Achille Massoma
Kinshapes is a shared space innovation hub that creates producers and forges entrepreneurial networks—with a defined purpose of empowerment. Why is empowerment critical to your company's mission—and what empowered your entrepreneurial journey?
What is Kinshapes?
Kinshapes came about after extended conversations with my co-Founder, Tyrone Schieszler, in 2016, about the rapid transformation—influenced by technology—taking place in our economy and Society at large. We felt that this rapid change, while positive in many aspects, would further the divide within our society, leaving behind many low-income individuals who do not have access to job training and computer skills needed for the 21st century.
We also knew that within the tech community, as well as other industries, there is a strong desire to "give back to the community.”
With Kinshapes, we are bringing people and organizations together. On the surface, we are using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies to create products. But the goal is to create spaces, build structures, and designing processes that make it easy underserved populations to engage one another and take action utilizing these technologies. Kinshapes is about mutual benefit partnering. It is about collaboration and strategic alliances that multiple the scale of what is possible.
And what empowered your entrepreneurial journey?
I have been fortunate in my life. I was born in Cameroon, Africa and through a series of events that had more to do with luck than personal merit, I was able enough to live in France and receive an excellent public education. Many years later, I immigrated to the United States. Living in America has opened a world of opportunities to me. Clearly, success requires hard work, sacrifices, and a bit of luck—but being in the right environment and meeting the right people also make a significant difference. As an immigrant, my survival has sometimes depended on the kindness of an absolute stranger.
Every time I go back to Cameroon, I realize how different my life is in comparison to my childhood friends. As a black man, I am also cognizant that the quality of my experience—as imperfect as it is—in this society, is the fruit of a very long and still challenging process. I am aware of the struggle and the sacrifices endured by so many so that this dream called my life can be better. These realizations bestow a great sense of responsibility on me. I feel a great deal of responsibility to contribute to be useful.
Empowerment and the company’s mission?
Entrepreneurship is my passion. It is the channel I use to express my creativity—and coming up with a new idea to solve socio-economic problems is extremely thrilling.
Kinshapes, as well as my other entrepreneurial initiatives, are guided by the principles and philosophy of social entrepreneurship, empowerment (personal and professional), and economic growth. We live in exhilarating times. Despite the long list of challenges that we are facing, we also have a productive well of resources from which to draw upon. Businesses can contribute a great deal to positive transformation. With the right values, culture, and social philosophies, companies can create wealth and solve socio-economic and environmental problems at the same time.
In my opinion, real success is not a measure of how much money one has in their bank account; instead, success is measured by the positive impact one has on other's lives.