An Interview with Everyday Carnival Founder, Leon Perkins

Posted by: RTPark on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Have you ever wanted to know where all of the latest carnival festivities were in your neighborhood or town? Did you run into challenges with Facebook’s events page and find that word of mouth from friends, cousins, and aunties just didn’t quite capture all of the events that were actually going on? Fortunately, Virgin Islander, Leon Perkins hopes to mitigate those challenges with his new company, Everyday Carnival™. Everyday Carnival will provide information on all of the latest carnival events in your area and one day, it’s Leon’s hope that it provides event details for carnivals around the world. 

This summer’s Cohort 2 of Accelerate VI is filled with founders of all stages working to grow their start-ups and learn unique lessons through workshops and sessions with mentors who hold sector expertise. In an interview with Everyday Carnival Founder, Leon Perkins, we learn about why he started his company, what he gained from his Accelerate VI experience, and what he dreams of for his young company’s future. 

How did you know that you wanted to start your own business?

Leon Perkins: From a long time ago I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I never really took the leap until I realized that I wasn’t being myself. I realized that there's more to life than just doing the regular 8 to 5. I decided to take that leap because I really didn’t want to do an 8 to 5 for too long so I decided to start a business and try to work on myself.

 

What or who were some important influences that inspired this venture?

Leon Perkins: I would probably say my son because I miss him when I go off to work, so for me, I think having the opportunity to make my own flexible schedule makes it better for me to interact with him and to go out there and do something that I truly like and love makes the work experience even better.

 

How many years have you been working on your company? 

Leon Perkins: Under a year, we started in November 2019.

 

So even though it’s been less than a year, I feel like there’s so much you have to do in under a year just to get your business running.

Leon Perkins: To even be noticed it feels like you have to do a lot in a small period of time but at the same time, you feel like you’re not doing enough and that's when you start to compare yourself to others. However, to fix this I take a step back and I continue to reassure myself that I’m doing enough and will do enough in the future.

 

What are the most valuable skills and tools you gained from the RTPark Accelerator? How have they helped you?

Leon Perkins: The accelerator experience for me has been an eyeopener. I think Eric [Sonnier, Director of Business Attraction and Entrepreneurship at the RTPark] has the best quote: “if you don't know, you don't know”. I also learned how to operate on a business spectrum as far as getting funding or just needing information about funding and investors. That was a big thing for me because I didn’t even know I needed investors until I knew I needed investors because for me to scale I definitely know I can’t do it by myself at this moment. So when he brought that, those kinds of decisions kind of broadened my spectrum of what it takes.

How has the Accelerator program helped, how is it like to interact with these other founders who are in other stages of their business’ development?

Leon Perkins: I think being in the accelerator program helped me. My company is basically less than a year in and being in classes with Founders who are further ahead helps me understand where my company is and where my company needs to be. I always thought my company was very young but then when you realize there are companies that have been around for maybe two, three, four years, and they’re still considered young I realized that I'm still in the infant stage whereas they are in the toddler stage. So I'm more intrigued at the thought that I get to understand where they are and understand where I need to be and continue on to reach to that level and continue making progress.

 

What has been the biggest challenge in starting your company? 

Leon Perkins: My biggest challenge was knowing what everybody’s looking for.  For example, if I created a website first then that might have been a great start versus creating a website and an application together. Learning from all of the mentors that I met through the accelerator, maybe I should’ve started with just one portion and then built on that instead of starting with two things.

 

Tell us about your team - how did you find the right people to start Everyday Carnival with?

Leon Perkins: I think that's one of the other things the program showed me. I’m by myself and some of the other founders have a team so they spoke about how to influence others to be on my team. That way it won’t be me on my own because sometimes it is difficult as far as making sure I get deadlines completed. and For me, the way that [the other founders] spoke about how you can influence others to be on your team is very important in the long run because I know I can’t do this by myself two or three years down the road. Also, maybe there are people that are good at their jobs but not good for your team. So when we spoke about those kinds of situations and having that team and that cohesion that really put it in perspective. 



What advice would you offer a young person that wants to start their own tech company?

Leon Perkins: I would say just start. I actually thought about this idea in maybe 2016 but I only started last year, reason being I really didn't think it was going to be enough. Then when I actually took the leap I realized that it was. So for me, I would just say take the leap. At the end of the day…make it what you want it to be. 

 

What is your vision for Everyday Carnival in the future?

Leon Perkins: My vision is for it to be a household name in every different island, country, or state. I want it to be able to highlight every single carnival. There are about 101 carnivals globally and I want to have a foothold in at least 90% of them.

 

Join us Thursday, July 23rd as Leon and the other founders in Accelerate VI’s second cohort share their pitches for their companies. They will be available to answer your questions live at 6 pm EST. Register here: https://mailchi.mp/uvirtpark/demo-day-2020

Client Testimonials

We have been part of the RT-Park program for almost three years now.  The application process was straight forward and we had plenty of dialogue and feedback prior to our approval.  My only regret is we didn’t do this sooner.  It is satisfying  knowing that we are partners with UVI and enabling the education of the next generation .  We also love living in the USVI.  People are warm and welcoming and the pace of life is amazing healthy.  Most days it feels like a working vacation.

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In January 2012 my business was underway as a Tech Park entity. It has been a wonderful seven years. The Tech Park has always been supportive, easy to do business with, and is making a positive impact on the islands. The Tech Park organization is professional and efficient. They have created a friendly business environment that has been a pleasure to work within and a great experience overall. I would encourage any eligible entity to consider joining us in the Tech Park.

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Our firm, The RainTree Group, came into the UVI RT Park program in 2018.  We didn't have much experience in the USVI and followed the advice of the wonderful RT Park staff and other RT Park tenants.  The application process was transparent and straightforward.   The simple concept of the Park is mutual benefit - your company gets some tax incentives that allows you to grow your business more quickly and the USVI and UVI gets additional tax base, employment opportunities, and scholarships for deserving students.  The business environment and life in the USVI is slower paces and less stressful as the mainland, and without question the biggest business hurdle is communications, so find an office location where you have investigated the broadband options. Come and join us, you won't regret it!

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There are many unique treasures to living here. I’ve discovered a passion for mountain biking. My children have learned to sail. With a small community, you get to know people quickly. We found they went out of their way to make us feel welcome. When considering the move, a top concern was the children’s education. We found a quality school our kids love, with a dedicated faculty. In fairness there is an adjustment period. You learn to navigate island life, master shipping logistics, get to know a new culture, and take in some of the most beautiful ocean views in the world.

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